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.

Related Articles


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 April 19, 2015 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 April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

At Least 15 Injured in a California Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

At Least 15 Injured in a California Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) At least 15 injred after natural gas transmission line ruptures in Fresno, California. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

NASA Electric Rover Goes for a Spin

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) NASA&apos;s prototype electric buggy could influence future space rovers and conventional cars. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Scientists Create Self-Powering Camera

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Apr. 17, 2015) American scientists build a self-powering camera that captures images without using an external power source, allowing it to operate indefinitely in a well-lit environment. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The State Of Virtual Reality

The State Of Virtual Reality

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Virtual Reality is still a young industry. What’s on offer and what should we expect from our immersive new future? Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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