Friday, 5 July 2013

Experimental Explosive Characterization for Counterterrorist Investigation


A THz spectral characterization of different explosives of special interest for the Spanish National Security Forces “Guardia Civil” is presented in this paper. This forensic analysis has been done in the frequency range from 0.060 THz to 3.5 THz using the Teraview TPS Spectra 3000 system in laboratory conditions. With this equipment the refractive index, absorbance and complex permittivity of the explosive samples have been obtained. In this study, some of the most common used explosives (Bullet gunpowder, mine gunpowder, PETN, TNT, RDX) are analysed paying special attention to differences related to the manufacturing process used to elaborate some of them and to the purity of the samples. The different fabrication processes of the explosives lead to the same spectral behaviour and characteristics. At the same time, the inclusion of some additives in the explosive samples does not alter their main electromagnetic properties. The sensitivity limit of the measurement system has been found to be to 10 mg of explosives. These results will be used to design future THz imaging systems that allow to detect and identify them in security and defence applications and/or to complete laboratory studies after a terrorist action.