Secondary ion mass spectrometry of powdered explosive compounds for forensic evidence analysis

Helena Téllez, José M. Vadillo, José J. Laserna

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    RATIONALE Residual quantities of explosives deposited on, or absorbed in, nearby surfaces can be of forensic value in post-blast analysis. As secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) may be a suitable analytical approach for the screening of such residues, its performance was evaluated. METHODS The analyses were carried out in a SIMS instrument fitted with a quadrupole analyzer. The sample was sputtered at a 45° incidence angle with a 100 μm primary Ar + beam (3 keV, 500 nA). Surface sample compensation was performed with low-energy electrons (500 eV, 0.75 mA). RESULTS TNT, RDX, PETN and cloratite were deposited in powdered form on double-sided tape and introduced into the mass spectrometer, without further handling, for SIMS analysis. The analysis conditions including compensation were optimized. A mixture of energetic compounds commonly used for explosive preparation was also analyzed, proving the potential of SIMS in forensic analysis. CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrated the possibility of detecting explosives by SIMS making use of a simple sampling procedure consisting of sticking the sample in powdered form (compatible with the collection performed in forensic post-blast analysis) onto double-sided tape without handling or preparation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1203-1207
    Number of pages5
    JournalRapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
    Volume26
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - May 30 2012

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • Analytical Chemistry
    • Spectroscopy
    • Organic Chemistry

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