In recent years, the detection of ultratraces of nitroaromatic compounds (NACs), such as 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), has gained considerable attention due to associated problems related to environment, security against terrorists and health. The principle of NACs detection is simple since any explosive emits a rather small, but detectable number of molecules. Thus, numerous detection techniques have been developed throughout the years, but their common limitations are rather large sizes and weights, high power consumption, unreliable detection with false alarms, insufficient sensitivity and/or chemical selectivity, and hyper-sensitivity to mechanical influences associated with very high price. Thus, there is a strong need of cheap, rapid, sensitive, and simple analytical methods for the detection and monitoring of these explosives in air. Semiconducting metal oxides (SMOs) allow the preparation of gas sensors able to partially or totally overcome these drawbacks, and this paper aims to shortly review the most recent SMOs nanocomposites able to sense explosives.
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