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Posts Tagged ‘explosives’

NH4+ Ionization for Explosives and CWA Detection

Crucial application benefits from fast switching NH4+ ionization

The proprietary and IONICON exclusive method of producing NH4+ solely from H2O vapor and N2 in the established hollow cathode ion source, without the need of any ammonia (PCT application submitted) has many advantages.

Today we would like to introduce a promising application field where NH4+ is the ideal reagent ion. The unambiguous and highly sensitive detection of explosives as well as chemical warfare agents.

TATP real-time detection

Analyzing the headspace of some µg of the infamous explosive TATP with NH4+ reagent ions boosts the TATP.H+ signal by a factor of 20 compared to the H3O+ mode, because of suppressed fragmentation. Additionally the cluster TATP.NH4+ is formed at an even higher abundance. Thus, by using TATP.NH4+ as an additional detection marker, also the selectivity is considerably improved in “NH4+ mode”.

Live tests and real-time detection of CWAs

The nine most important CWAs (including Sarin, Tabun, Soman, VX, Lewisite, Cyclosarin, Nitrogen mustard and Sulfur mustard) have been investigated at a facility specialized and licensed for CWA handling.  (more…)

Unambiguous Real-Time Detection of TNT with PTR-MS

Article in ACS’ Analytical Chemistry journal: Discovery of a new dimension in selectivity for PTR-MS

We have already successfully demonstrated the ability of PTR-MS to detect common threat agents such as CWAs, TICs and Explosives in earlier studies. Using high-resolution IONICON PTR-TOFMS series instruments an unambiguous identification of most known substances has already been proven.

A new study shows that another potentially useful procedure for the elimination of false positives with regard to the detection of TNT using PTR-MS technology was found:


IONICON at 6th Future Security, Security Research Conference

IONICON science manager, Dr. Philipp Sulzer will co-chair the session A3 Detection of hazardous Material and give a lecture.

Terrorism, organized crime and sabotage, but also natural disasters and technological accidents can cause serious damage and disruption with long-lasting consequences for economies and the quality of life.

The 6th Future Security, Security Research Conference will take place 5. -7. September 2011 in Berlin, Germany and has the aim to bring together the decision makers in politics, industry and finance with scientists working on leading edge and innovative concepts, sensors or systems for civil security.

Philipp Sulzer will chair the session Detection of Hazardous Material on Tuesday September 6 from 9:00 to 10:20 and give a lecture with the title: Detection and Identification of illicit and Hazardous Substances with Proton-Transfer-Reaction Mass Spectrometry (PTR-MS).

Continue to read the abstract:


PTR-MS for the sensitive and rapid real-time detection of solid high explosives in air and water

A new article in ABC demonstrates the capabilities of detecting explosives in air and water with IONICON DAI-PTR-MS

IONICON scientists successfully demonstrate  the DAI (direct aqueous injection) system’s capabilities to detect explosives in water. The IONICON DAI system is currently in development and allows for injection of liquids and analysis of which in IONICON PTR-MS instruments.

PTR-MS is known for its low real-time detection limit for trace VOCs in air and the DAI system will be used to extend the range of possible PTR-MS applications to the liquid phase.


Relying on recent developments in proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS), we demonstrate here the capability of detecting solid explosives in air and in water in real time.


Real-time detection of PETN explosive with PTR-MS

IONICON PTR-MS technology sniffs explosives such as PETN in very low concentrations

The recent terror plot to transport printers containing the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, from Yemen to Chicago synagogues has once again focused attention on the need to detect explosives reliably and in real-time.

PETN is the same explosive that the so-called “shoe-bomber” tried to set-off on an American Airlines jet to Miami in 2001.  More recently PETN was involved in the failed attempt at setting off a bomb on an airliner in midair (Northwest Airlines Flight 253, 25th December 2009) by the Nigerian born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and in the attempted assassination of a member of the Saudi royal family this summer.

PETN is an extremely powerful explosive, belonging to the nitroglycerine family, but is very stable.  It is therefore a preferred explosive used by terrorists.  A major problem for security personnel is that PETN is difficult to detect.  Analytical methods generally rely on the presence of residues left on the surfaces of freight containing explosives.  However, a major difficulty associated with any analytical instrument is to achieve high selectivity, thereby reducing false positives and negatives, whilst maintaining the high sensitivity required for trace detection.


IONICON is a proud partner of the SPIRIT project

Safety and Protection of built Infrastructure to Resist Integral Threats

Terrorist attacks by bombing or CBR (Chemical, Biological and Radiological) are threats with a low likelihood but with extremely high impact.
There is strong need to protect critical infrastructures and utilities (malls, governmental buildings and embassies), train and subway stations against being damaged, destroyed or disrupted by deliberate acts of terrorism, criminal activity and malicious behaviour.

The overall aim of the SPIRIT project is to provide the technology and know-how for the protection of buildings and people against terrorist treat and to minimize the consequences of a terrorist attack in terms of number of casualties/injuries, damage and loss of functionality and services.


Detektion von Spreng- und Kampfstoffen mit IONICON PTR-MS

Ultraempfindliches Analysegerät spürt gefährliche Stoffe in geringster Konzentration sofort in der Luft auf

„Unsere Technologie kann sich jeder als eine Art ‘Luft-Detektiv’ vorstellen. Sobald winzigste Konzentrationen von Sprengmitteln, chemischen Kampfstoffen oder weiteren gefährlichen Substanzen auftreten, schlägt zeitgleich als technischer Kriminalist unser ultraempfindliches Analysegerät an. Es reagiert bereits auf Ebene einzelner Moleküle, kann daher frühzeitigst Gefahren aufspüren, womit unverzüglich Schutzmaßnahmen ergriffen werden können“, erklärt der Physiker Prof. Tilmann Märk, Geschäftsführer der Ionicon Analytik GmbH. Mögliche Gesundheitsrisiken bestehen laut Märk beim Einsatz des „Luft-Detektives“ nicht.