Vibrational Spectroscopy for Identification and Discrimination of Explosives and Common Household Materials

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Journal of Defence & Security Technologies, Volume 1, Issue 1 (2017)


Explosives, infrared spectroscopy, Raman, vibrational spectroscopy


In the context of terrorist activity, both improvised and commercial explosives may be used but they are typically not clearly labelled and it is extremely difficult to identify explosives based on their physical appearance alone. In particular, they may physically resemble innocent common materials such as foodstuffs or cleaning materials. Here we discuss the use of vibrational spectroscopy as a means of identifying not only explosives but also explosives precursors and harmless materials which might be encountered in searches of potential for bomb factories. Previous literature has emphasized the value of identifying explosives and precursors, here we consider the advantages which vibrational spectroscopy may provide in identifying common household materials.