Identification of Inorganic Improvised Explosive Devices Using Sequential Injection Capillary Electrophoresis and Contactless Conductivity Detection
Blanco, GA and Nai, YH and Hilder, EF and Shellie, RA and Dicinoski, GW and Haddad, PR and Breadmore, MC, Identification of Inorganic Improvised Explosive Devices Using Sequential Injection Capillary Electrophoresis and Contactless Conductivity Detection, Analytical Chemistry, 83, (23) pp. 9068-9075. ISSN 0003-2700 (2011) [Refereed Article]
A simple sequential injection capillary electrophoresis (SI-CE) instrument with capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection (C4D) has been developed for the rapid separation of anions relevant to the identification of inorganic improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Four of the most common explosive tracer ions, nitrate, perchlorate, chlorate, and azide, and the most
common background ions, chloride, sulfate, thiocyanate, fluoride, phosphate, and carbonate, were chosen for investigation. Using a separation electrolyte comprising 50 mM tris(hydroxymethyl)aminomethane, 50 mM cyclohexyl-2-aminoethanesulfonic acid, pH 8.9 and 0.05% poly(ethyleneimine) (PEI) in a hexadimethrine bromide (HDMB)-coated capillary it was possible to partially
separate all 10 ions within 90 s. The combination of two cationic polymer additives (PEI and HDMB) was necessary to achieve adequate selectivity with a sufficiently stable electroosmotic flow (EOF), which was not possible with only one polymer. Careful optimization of variables affecting the speed of separation and injection timing allowed a further reduction of separation time to 55 s while maintaining adequate efficiency and resolution. Software control makes high sample throughput possible (60 samples/h), with very high repeatability of migration times [0.632.07% relative standard deviation (RSD) for 240 injections]. The separation speed does not compromise sensitivity, with limits of detection ranging from 23 to 50 ėg 3 L1 for all the explosive residues considered, which is 10 lower than those achieved by indirect absorbance detection and 2 lower than those achieved by C4D using portable
benchtop instrumentation. The combination of automation, high sample throughput, high confidence of peak identification, and low limits of detection makes this methodology ideal for the rapid identification of inorganic IED residues.