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Issue 1, 2009
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Direct detection of explosives on solid surfaces by low temperature plasma desorption mass spectrometry

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Abstract

In this paper, we have constructed a low temperature plasma (LTP) probe using dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) and employed it for the detection of explosives on a variety of substrates under ambient conditions. Upon discharge, a transient, low-temperature non-equilibrium plasma comprising ions, electrons and metastable atoms are generated between the electrodes. Three common explosives, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT), hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), and pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), were directly desorbed and ionized from solid surfaces, followed by subsequent analysis using the mass spectrometer in the negative ion mode. Limits of detection (LODs) were 500 fg for TNT, 1 pg for RDX, and 500 fg for PETN. The reliability of the method was characterized by a successful analysis of a mixture of the three explosives. The ion source also allowed direct detection of trace explosives on both conductive and non-conductive substrates, thus expanding the applicability of low temperature plasma desorption mass spectrometry.

Graphical abstract: Direct detection of explosives on solid surfaces by low temperature plasma desorption mass spectrometry

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Article information


Submitted
16 Sep 2008
Accepted
04 Nov 2008
First published
25 Nov 2008

Analyst, 2009,134, 176-181
Article type
Paper

Direct detection of explosives on solid surfaces by low temperature plasma desorption mass spectrometry

Y. Zhang, X. Ma, S. Zhang, C. Yang, Z. Ouyang and X. Zhang, Analyst, 2009, 134, 176
DOI: 10.1039/B816230A

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