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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

Citation

Hutchinson, J and Evenhuis, CJ and Johns, CA and Kazarian, A and Breadmore, MC and Macka, M and Hilder, EF and Guijt, RM and Dicinoski, GW and Haddad, PR, 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, Analytical Chemistry, 79, (18) pp. 7005-7013. ISSN 0003-2700 (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1021/ac0708792

Abstract

A commercial portable capillary electrophoresis (CE) instrument has been used to separate inorganic anions and cations found in postblast residues from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) of the type used frequently in terrorism attacks. The purpose of this analysis was to identify the type of explosive used. The CE instrument was modified for use with an in-house miniaturized light-emitting diode (LED) detector to enable sensitive indirect photometric detection to be employed for the detection of 15 anions (acetate, benzoate, carbonate, chlorate, chloride, chlorite, cyanate, fluoride, nitrate, nitrite, Perchlorate, phosphate, sulfate, thiocyanate, thiosulfate) and 12 cations (ammonium, monomethylammonium, ethylammonium, potassium, sodium, barium, strontium, magnesium, manganese, calcium, zinc, lead) as the target analytes. These ions are known to be present in postblast residues from inorganic IEDs constructed from ammonium nitrate/fuel oil mixtures, black powder, and chlorate/perchlorate/sugar mixtures. For the analysis of cations, a blue LED (470 nm) was used in conjunction with the highly absorbing cationic dye, chrysoidine (absorption maximum at 453 nm). A nonaqueous background electrolyte comprising 10 mM chrysoidine in methanol was found to give greatly improved baseline stability in comparison to aqueous electrolytes due to the increased solubility of chrysoidine and its decreased adsorption onto the capillary wall. Glacial acetic acid (0.7% v/v) was added to ensure chrysoidine was protonated and to enhance separation selectivity by means of complexation with transition metal ions. The 12 target cations were separated in less than 9.5 min with detection limits of 0.11-2.30 mg/L (calculated at a signal-to-noise ratio of 3). The anions separation system utilized a UV LED (370 nm) in conjunction with an aqueous chromate electrolyte (absorption maximum at 371 nm) consisting of 10 mM chromium(VI) oxide and 10 mM sodium Chromate, buffered with 40 mM tris(hydroxymethyl)-aminomethane at pH 8.05. All 15 target anions were baseline separated in less than 9 min with limits of detection ranging from 0.24 to 1.15 mg/L (calculated at a signal-to-noise ratio of 3). Use of the portable instrumentation in the field was demonstrated by analyzing postblast residues in a mobile laboratory immediately after detonation of the explosive devices. Profiling the ionic composition of the inorganic IEDs allowed identification of the chemicals used in their construction. © 2007 American Chemical Society.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Chemical Sciences
Research Group:Analytical Chemistry
Research Field:Separation Science
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding Knowledge in the Chemical Sciences
Author:Hutchinson, J (Dr Joseph Hutchinson)
Author:Evenhuis, CJ (Dr Christopher Evenhuis)
Author:Johns, CA (Dr Cameron Johns)
Author:Kazarian, A (Dr Tom Kazarian)
Author:Breadmore, MC (Professor Michael Breadmore)
Author:Macka, M (Professor Mirek Macka)
Author:Hilder, EF (Professor Emily Hilder)
Author:Guijt, RM (Dr Rosanne Guijt)
Author:Dicinoski, GW (Associate Professor Gregory Dicinoski)
Author:Haddad, PR (Professor Paul Haddad)
ID Code:51237
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:87
Deposited By:Chemistry
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2009-11-18
Downloads:0

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