Method and Apparatus for Detecting Explosives – IP 0310A

Ion mobility spectrometry (IMS) is a rugged, inexpensive, sensitive, field portable technique for the detection of organic compounds. It is widely employed in ports of entry and by the military as a particle detector for explosives and drugs of abuse. Many organic high explosives do not have a vapor pressure high enough for effective vapor sampling, but these explosives and their commercial explosive mixtures have characteristic volatile components detectable in a headspace when contained. In addition, commercially manufactured explosives can also contain taggants to aid in detection through headspace sampling.Solid phase microextraction (SPME) is an effective extraction technique employed for the absorption and/or adsorption of a variety of compounds, and can easily extract these compounds from the headspace for IMS vapor detection. FIU inventors have developed a SPME-IMS interface to couple the extraction efficiency of SPME to the detection capability of IMS. This new SPME-IMS interface extracts vapors from explosives, taggants in explosives, controlled substances, biohazards, and mixtures from a headspace for subsequent detection by a commercially available IMS in a simple, rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive manner. Because the SPME device has increased surface area for absorption and/or adsorption of the target vapor, the detection of volatile compounds is more sensitive and accurate without affecting the extraction time. The improved sensitivity could allow the detection and characterization of target vapors that prior art methods or devices cannot detect. Anne Laure Schmitt Olivier 305-348-5948

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