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Annu Rev Phys Chem. 1998;49:203-32.

Explosives detection: a challenge for physical chemistry.

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Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


The detection of explosives, energetic materials, and their associated compounds for security screening, demining, detection of unexploded ordnance, and pollution monitoring is an active area of research. A wide variety of detection methods and an even wider range of physical chemistry issues are involved in this very challenging area. This review focuses on techniques such as optical and mass spectrometry and chromatography for detection of trace amounts of explosives with short response times. We also review techniques for detecting the decomposition fragments of these materials. Molecular data for explosive compounds are reviewed where available.

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