Broadband tunable external cavity quantum cascade lasers for standoff detection of explosives
We demonstrate contactless detection of solid residues of explosives using mid-infrared laser spectroscopy. Our detection scheme relies on active laser illumination, synchronized with the collection of the backscattered radiation by an infrared camera. The key component of the system is an external cavity quantum cascade laser with a tuning range of 300 cm(-1) centered at 1220 cm(-1). Residues of TNT (trinitrotoluene), PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate) and RDX (cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine) could be identified and discriminated against non-hazardous materials by scanning the illumination wavelength over several of the characteristic absorption features of the explosives.