Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Molecules Could Change The Face Of Explosives Detection

Date:
May 14, 2008
Source:
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Summary:
Chemists have developed complex molecules for use in portable sensors that quickly and reliably detect the presence of plastic explosives, a pressing need for soldiers in Iraq. The molecules can also identify which type of explosive is present, allowing security personnel to quickly determine which material they are dealing with.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have created complex molecules containing zinc for use in portable sensors that quickly and reliably detect the presence of plastic explosives, a pressing need for soldiers in Iraq and other hostile environments.

Sensors containing the zinc complexes are also the first devices that allow the user to identify which type of explosive is present, since each metal complex has a unique response to explosives and explosive mimics.

“This is a big improvement over existing sensors based on polymers, since the metal complexes can discriminate between closely related explosives compounds,” says Michael Knapp, a professor of chemistry. “This ability is a real advantage for airport security personnel and law enforcement officials, who need to quickly detect and identify what type of explosives they are dealing with.”

Results of the study by Knapp, doctoral candidate Meaghan Germain and undergraduate student Thomas Vargo were published April 23 in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Knapp and Germain currently hold a patent for the zinc complexes, and are working with the UMass Amherst Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property to bring this technology to market. The research was supported by start-up funds provided by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The zinc complexes are naturally fluorescent, but they lose this ability when exposed to chemicals contained in plastic explosives, a phenomenon called quenching. Since each of the complexes react by losing different amounts of their fluorescent ability, they can be used to create sensor arrays that produce a different visual display when exposed to different explosives.

During testing, the sensors also responded quickly, since the zinc complexes are very efficient at changing energy states, making them suitable for hostile environments. “Of all the molecules that fluoresce, these go from a high energy state to a low energy state like falling off a cliff,” says Knapp. “They don’t lose energy gradually like metal complexes made with copper.”

“Identifying and distinguishing related compounds by optical methods is an enormous challenge for chemical sensing,” says Knapp. “The differential quenching of the zinc complexes is what permits discrimination within the closely related nitroaromatic family used in explosives.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Massachusetts Amherst. "New Molecules Could Change The Face Of Explosives Detection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513191831.htm>.
University of Massachusetts Amherst. (2008, May 14). New Molecules Could Change The Face Of Explosives Detection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513191831.htm
University of Massachusetts Amherst. "New Molecules Could Change The Face Of Explosives Detection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/05/080513191831.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins