Laser-Ionization Mass Spectrometry of Explosives and Chemical Warfare Simulants


Huestis, D. L., Mullen, C., Coggiola, M. J., & Oser, H. (2008). Laser-ionization mass spectrometry of explosives and chemical warfare simulants. International Journal of High Speed Electronics and Systems, 18(01), 159-165.


The objective of the present study was to better understand the photophysics of explosives and chemical warfare simulants in order to develop better performing analytical tools. Photoionization mass spectra were taken using three optical schemes. The first was resonance-enhanced multiphoton ionization (REMPI) using few-ns duration 248 or 266 nm laser pulses. The second scheme was non-resonant multiphoton ionization (MPI) using 100 fs duration laser pulses at wavelengths between 325 and 795. The third approach was single photon ionization (SPI) using few-ns duration 118 nm laser pulses. For all the molecules investigated, mass spectra resulting exposure to ns-duration 248 or 266 nm laser pulses consisted of only low molecular weight fragments. Using fs-duration laser pulses produced more complicated, potentially analyzable, fragmentation patterns, usually with some parent peak. Single photon ionization gave the best results, with mass spectra consisting of almost only parent peak, except for the case of TATP.

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