Identification of high explosives using single-particle aerosol mass spectrometry

Audrey N. Martin, George R. Farquar, Eric E. Gard, Matthias Frank, David P. Fergenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The application of single-particle aerosol mass spectrometry (SPAMS) to the real-time detection of micrometersized single particles of high explosives is described. Dual-polarity time-of-flight mass spectra from 1000 single particles each of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazinane (RDX), and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), as well as those of complex explosives, Composition B, Semtex 1A, and Semtex 1H, were obtained over a range of desorption/ionization laser fluences between 0.50 and 8.01 nJ/μm 2. Mass spectral variability with laser fluence for each explosive is discussed. The ability of the SPAMS system to identify explosive components in a single complex explosive particle (∼1 pg) without the need for consumables is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1918-1925
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 5 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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