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Detection of Explosives by Hyper-Spectral Differential Reflectometry

  • Thierry Dubroca (a1) and Rolf E. Hummel (a1)

Abstract

In the wake of the recent terrorist attacks, such as the 2008 Mumbai hotel explosion or the December 25th 2009 “underwear bomber”, our group has developed a technique (US patent #7368292) to apply differential reflective spectroscopy to the problem of detecting explosives in order to detect terrorist threats. Briefly, light (200-500 nm) is shone on a surface such as a piece of luggage at an airport or a parcel at a courier distribution center. Upon reflection, the light is collected with a spectrometer combined with a camera. A computer processes the data and produces in turn a differential reflection spectrum taken between two adjacent areas of the surface. This differential technique is highly sensitive and provides spectroscopic data of explosives. As an example, 2,4,6, trinitrotoluene (TNT) displays strong and distinct features in differential reflectograms near 420 nm. Similar, but distinctly different features are observed for other explosives such as RDX, PETN or ANFO. Our detection system uses a two dimension detector (CCD camera) which provide spatial and spectroscopic information in each of the two dimensions. By scanning (involving fixed optical equipment and scanning moving bags or parcels on a conveyor belt), the surface to be surveyed the system provide the spatial location of the potential threat. We present in this paper how our detector works and how it is applied to the problem of explosive screening for explosives at airports and mail sorting centers. Additionally, we will present the effect of the explosives morphology on the detection response. In particular we will evaluate the implication on the limit of detection of the instrument as well as discuss the sample morphology with respect to a realistic threat scenario.

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References

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1. Hummel, R. E., Fuller, A. M., Schoellhorn, C., and Holloway, P. H., Appl. Phys. Lett. 88, 231903 (2006).
2. Hummel, R.E., Fuller, A.M., Schoellhorn, C., and Holloway, P.H., in Trace Chemical Sensing of Explosives, edited by Woodfin, R. L., John Wiley N.Y. (2007) Chapter 15, page 301.
3. Fuller, A. M., Hummel, R. E., Schoellhorn, C., and Holloway, P. H., Proceedings SPIE Optics East 6378 (2006).
4. Schoellhorn, C., Fuller, A. M., Gratier, J., and Hummel, R. E., Appl. Optics 46, 6232, (2007).
5. Schoellhorn, C., Fuller, A. M., Gratier, J., and Hummel, R. E., SPIE Defense and Security proceedings 6554 (2007).
6. Fuller-Tedeschi, A. and Hummel, R. E., J. Appl. Phys. 107, 114902 (2010).

Keywords

Detection of Explosives by Hyper-Spectral Differential Reflectometry

  • Thierry Dubroca (a1) and Rolf E. Hummel (a1)

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