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Opportunity at Davies Teaching Fellowships (ARL/USMA)

Laser-Based Sensitive Detection of Energetic Materials


Weapons and Materials Research Directorate-FFP, Energetic Materials - FFP

RO# Location
AA.30.02.B4148 Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 210055066


Name E-mail Phone
Sausa, Rosario C 410.306.0660


Laser-based spectroscopic techniques are important for chemical analysis because they offer the combination of high sensitivity and selectivity with real-time monitoring capabilities. This research opportunity centers on laser-photofragmentation/fragment detection (PF/FD) methods for detecting trace quantities of energetic materials in real time and in situ. PF/FD methods are often utilized when the analyte molecule does not lend itself to direct spectroscopic detection because it is either a poor fluorophor or because it predissociates with the absorption of laser radiation. In PF/FD methods, a single laser both photofragments the target energetic molecule and facilitates the detection of the characteristic photofragments, especially nitric oxide (NO). NO possesses a favorable combination of strong optical transitions and exhibits sharp, well-resolved spectral features. Thus, it can be detected readily by resonance-enhanced multiphoton ionization with miniature electrodes or by laser-induced fluorescence with a photodetector. The NO fragment is characteristic of the NO2 functional group, which is present in the energetic molecules and contributes to the selectivity of the analytical method. Experiments are conducted with both ultraviolet and visible laser radiation and the analytical merit of the methods is demonstrated on various energetic materials such as TNT, PETN, and RDX.


Energetic material sensitive detection; Laser photofragmentation; Laser-induced fluorescence; Fragment detection;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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