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Imaging standoff trace detection of explosives using IR-laser based backscattering

: Fuchs, F.; Hugger, S.; Jarvis, J.; Yang, Q.K.; Ostendorf, R.; Schilling, C.; Bronner, W.; Driad, R.; Aidam, R.; Wagner, J.


George, T. (ed) ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications VIII : 17-21 April 2016, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2016 (Proceedings of SPIE 9836)
ISBN: 978-1-5106-0077-5
Paper 98362I, 9 pp.
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications Conference <8, 2016, Baltimore/Md.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IAF ()
external cavity quantum cascade lasers; active hyperspectral imaging; mid-infrared spectroscopy; stand-off detection of explosives

We perform active hyperspectral imaging using tunable mid-infrared (MIR) quantum cascade lasers for contactless identification of solid and liquid contaminations on surfaces. By collecting the backscattered laser radiation with a camera, a hyperspectral data cube, containing the spatially resolved spectral information of the scene is obtained. Data is analyzed using appropriate algorithms to find the target substances even on substrates with a priori unknown spectra. Eye-save standoff detection of residues of explosives and precursors over extended distances is demonstrated and the main purpose of our system. Using a MIR EC-QCL with a tuning range from 7.5 µm to 10 µm, detection of a large variety of explosives, e.g. TNT, PETN and RDX and precursor materials such as Ammonium Nitrate could be demonstrated. In a real world scenario stand-off detection over distances of up to 20 m could be successfully performed. This includes measurements in a post blast scenario demonstrating the potential of the technique for forensic investigations.