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Tracking Down Builders Of Homemade Bombs

Date:
September 18, 2007
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Researchers have developed of a portable device to help track down builders of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) -- those homemade fertilizer bombs that have wreaked such havoc in terrorist attacks around the world. The researchers point out that IEDs have become a mainstay weapon for terrorists, resulting in an urgent need for new technology to identify and eliminate the sources of the explosives.

This "briefcase" is actually an anti-terror device for detecting homemade bombs.
Credit: Courtesy of Joseph P. Hutchinson, University of Tasmania, Australia

Researchers in Australia are reporting development of a portable device to help track down builders of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) -- those homemade fertilizer bombs that have wreaked such havoc in terrorist attacks around the world.

Paul R. Haddad and colleagues point out that IEDs have become a mainstay weapon for terrorists, resulting in an urgent need for new technology to identify and eliminate the sources of the explosives. However, quickly and reliably identifying the chemicals used in these crude but deadly bombs remains a major challenge to investigators. IEDs are often made with a diverse array of conventional, easy-to-obtain materials that require slow and painstaking analysis in the laboratory following an explosion.

The new technology streamlines that process, quickly and accurately identifying the chemical composition of blast residues from IEDs in the field. It consists of an instrument, about the size of a briefcase, based on a modified form of capillary electrophoresis, a mainstay technology for separating components in a mixture. In the study, researchers used it to identify major components of blast residues in less than 10 minutes.

Their study will appear in the Sept. 15 issue of ACS' Analytical Chemistry.

Article: "Identification of Inorganic Improvised Explosive Devices by Analysis of Postblast Residues Using Portable Capillary Electrophoresis Instrumentation and Indirect Photometric Detection with a Light-Emitting Diode"


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Tracking Down Builders Of Homemade Bombs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917150439.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2007, September 18). Tracking Down Builders Of Homemade Bombs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917150439.htm
American Chemical Society. "Tracking Down Builders Of Homemade Bombs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070917150439.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

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