Issue 1, 2016

An optoelectronic nose for identification of explosives


Compact and portable methods for identification of explosives are increasingly needed for both civilian and military applications. A portable optoelectronic nose for the gas-phase identification of explosive materials is described that uses a highly cross-reactive colorimetric sensor array and a handheld scanner. The array probes a wide range of chemical reactivities using 40 chemically responsive colorimetric indicators, including pH sensors, metal–dye salts, redox-sensitive chromogenic compounds, solvatochromic dyes, and other chromogenic indicators. Sixteen separate analytes including common explosives, homemade explosives, and characteristic explosive components were differentiated into fourteen separate classes with a classification error rate of <1%. Portable colorimetric array sensing could represent an important, complementary part of the toolbox used in practical applications of explosives detection and identification.

Graphical abstract: An optoelectronic nose for identification of explosives

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Edge Article
20 Jul 2015
22 Sep 2015
First published
07 Oct 2015
This article is Open Access

All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry
Creative Commons BY license

Chem. Sci., 2016,7, 199-206

Author version available

An optoelectronic nose for identification of explosives

J. R. Askim, Z. Li, M. K. LaGasse, J. M. Rankin and K. S. Suslick, Chem. Sci., 2016, 7, 199 DOI: 10.1039/C5SC02632F

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