Dual mode selective detection and differentiation of TNT from other nitroaromatic compounds†
Selective detection of explosives, especially TNT, is a highly desirable area of research and various explosives detection devices including fluorescent sensors are already in place. However, multi-mode sensors will be more useful and reliable than conventional fluorescent “Turn Off” sensors. One of the challenges is the development of selective sensors to prevent illegal transport of commonly used explosive TNT through on-the-spot analysis. In this context, we report a fluorescent polymer-based selective detection of TNT using both fluorometric and colorimetric signals. In addition, colorimetric differentiation of TNT from other nitroaromatic compounds is made possible by complexing with various amines. Even though many other sensors are available for TNT, the current demonstration is unique in terms of selectivity, sensitivity, reliability, portability, and rapidity of results. The as-developed explosive detection kit can be useful in both civilian and military operations to trace the illegal transport of TNT as well as for post-explosion analysis.