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Analysis of Potential Homemade Nitrate Ester Explosive By-products via Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry



Edward R. Sisco, Thomas P. Forbes


This work demonstrates the ability of off-axis direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) to detect five representative homemade nitrate ester explosive by-products. Instrumental parameters that were examined included mass spectrometer orifice voltage, DART gas stream temperature, and dopant addition. In addition to identifying characteristic mass spectra and preferential adduct formation pathways, sensitivities ranged from hundreds of picograms to low nanograms, depending on the compound. This work provides a continuation for the development of a rapid and sensitive method for the screening of homemade nitrate ester explosives and by-products, building upon previous results for the detection of nitrate ester explosives and their corresponding sugar alcohol precursors.


Explosives, DART-MS, Forensic Science
Created December 9, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018