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New Particle-based Trace Explosive Test Material Produced by Drop-On-Demand Inkjet Printing for Quantitative Wipe Sampling Studies



Jennifer R. Verkouteren, Jeffrey A. Lawrence, Edward R. Sisco


A new approach was developed to prepare particle standards of the explosive 1,3,5-trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX) for use in quantitative wipe sampling studies. Screening activities to detect traces of explosives are heavily focused on wipe collection from surfaces such as fabrics, metals, and plastics with speed and efficacy as the goals. Studies to improve the sampling protocols, including development of improved wipes and selection of best surfaces, depend upon the availability of test materials that mimic particles in fingerprints made after handling explosives. RDX particle arrays were prepared by drop-on-demand (DOD) inkjet printing onto polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) substrates and then transferred by rubbing to target surfaces. The particle size distributions in the transferred deposits match the distributions measured from fingerprints (size range of 1 to 40 m) for equivalent total masses of RDX, and the transfer is better than 95 % efficient to three realistic surfaces; woven nylon, synthetic leather, and brushed steel. DOD inkjet printing can be tailored to produce the desired particle sizes by changing the total deposit mass at each point in the array. Deposits will not transfer efficiently to surfaces smoother than that of the PTFE transfer substrate (Ra = 41 ± 13 nm). Wipe sampling studies conducted with the new test materials show that the woven nylon fabric (industry standard for luggage) is twice as challenging to sample from as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic (luggage handles) for a fixed force and specific sampling wipe.
Analytical Chemistry


explosives, inkjet printing, wipe sampling, RDX, particle standards


Verkouteren, J. , Lawrence, J. and Sisco, E. (2017), New Particle-based Trace Explosive Test Material Produced by Drop-On-Demand Inkjet Printing for Quantitative Wipe Sampling Studies, Analytical Chemistry, [online], (Accessed May 24, 2024)


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Created April 21, 2017, Updated November 18, 2019