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Open AccessArticle

Enhancement of Characteristics of Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer with Laser Ionization for Detection of Explosives in Vapor Phase

Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, National Research Nuclear University, 31, Kashirskoe Sh., Moscow 115409, Russia
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Chemosensors 2020, 8(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/chemosensors8040091
Received: 22 August 2020 / Revised: 22 September 2020 / Accepted: 25 September 2020 / Published: 27 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Analytical Method and Apparatus)
Ion mobility spectrometry instrumentation today is widespread in the area of transport security and counterterrorism. This method of detection of explosive substances is highly appreciated for the existence of portable detectors capable of detecting concentrations of 10−13–10−14 g/cm3 at atmospheric pressure using traditional ionization methods including corona discharge and beta radiation. However, low vapor pressure of some explosives imposes requirements on limit of detection (LOD) down to 10–15‒10−16 g/cm3. In this paper we compare a radioactive 63Ni ionization source with a laser ionization source and reveal the parameters of laser ionization of a group of explosives, namely trinitrotoluene (TNT), cyclotrimethylene-trinitramine (RDX), cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine (HMX) and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), which can reduce the limit of detection of portable devices. A laser ionization source can provide a higher signal to noise ratio than radioactive 63Ni at optimal intensity of laser radiation for PETN and HMX of 3 × 107 W/cm2 and 2.5 × 107 W/cm2, respectively. Limits of detection were estimated: 3 × 10−15 g/cm3 for RDX, 8 × 10−15 g/cm3 for PETN and less than 3 × 10−15 g/cm3 for HMX. These results are promising to further improve the capabilities of detectors of low volatility explosives without sacrificing portability, light weight and reasonable cost of the laser source. View Full-Text
Keywords: FAIMS; ion source; 63Ni; laser ionization; limit of detection; TNT; RDX; HMX; PETN FAIMS; ion source; 63Ni; laser ionization; limit of detection; TNT; RDX; HMX; PETN
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Kostarev, V.A.; Kotkovskii, G.E.; Chistyakov, A.A.; Akmalov, A.E. Enhancement of Characteristics of Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer with Laser Ionization for Detection of Explosives in Vapor Phase. Chemosensors 2020, 8, 91.

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