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Imaging standoff detection of explosives using widely tunable midinfrared quantum cascade lasers
The use of a tunable midinfrared external cavity quantum cascade laser for the standoff detection of explosives at medium distances between 2 and 5 m is presented. For the collection of the diffusely backscattered light, a high-performance infrared imager was used. Illumination and wavelength tuning of the laser source was synchronized with the image acquisition, establishing a hyperspectral data cube. Sampling of the backscattered radiation from the test samples was performed in a noncooperative geometry at angles of incidence far away from specular reflection. We show sensitive detection of traces of trinitrotoluene and pentaerythritol tetranitrate on real-world materials, such as standard car paint, polyacrylics from backpacks, and jeans fabric. Concentrations corresponding to fingerprints were detected, while concepts for false alarm suppression due to cross-contaminations were presented.