The low vapor pressure of many energetic materials presents a challenge for detection by non-contact methods. We address this limitation by illuminating energetic materials including TNT and RDX with infrared lasers tuned to strong molecular absorption bands to efficiently heat trace amounts present on substrates. This substantially increases their vapor signatures for direct detection, obviating the need to swab surfaces for solid particles or to collect headspace vapors for extended time periods. The instantaneously generated vapor produced by Laser Trace Vaporization (LTV) can be detected by any number of techniques which can accommodate vapor sampling or spectroscopic analysis. Currently the testbed for LTV incorporates a tunable quantum cascade laser (QCL) to illuminate the sample and an ion mobility spectrometer (IMS) to validate the signal enhancement. The LTV technique works well with all tested substrates, though the thermal and spectroscopic properties of the substrate can influence the efficiency of the vaporization. Computational results from laser heating along with experimental thermal kinetic measurements were used to optimize LTV laser irradiation parameters. In addition to a range of LTV results for different explosives and substrates, we explore the effects of wavelength-dependent heating on the sample and substrate.