An optoelectronic nose for identification of explosives

Jon R. Askim, Zheng Li, Maria K. LaGasse, Jaqueline M. Rankin, Kenneth S. Suslick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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