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Trace explosive detection using photothermal deflection spectroscopy

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5 Author(s)
Krause, Adam R. ; Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, USA and University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996, USA ; Van Neste, Charles ; Senesac, L. ; Thundat, Thomas
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Satisfying the conditions of high sensitivity and high selectivity using portable sensors that are also reversible is a challenge. Miniature sensors such as microcantilevers offer high sensitivity but suffer from poor selectivity due to the lack of sufficiently selective receptors. Although many of the mass deployable spectroscopic techniques provide high selectivity, they do not have high sensitivity. Here, we show that this challenge can be overcome by combining photothermal spectroscopy on a bimaterial microcantilever with the mass induced change in the cantilever’s resonance frequency. Detection using adsorption-induced resonant frequency shift together with photothermal deflection spectroscopy shows extremely high selectivity with a subnanogram limit of detection for vapor phase adsorbed explosives, such as pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), cyclotrimethylene trinitramine (RDX), and trinitrotoluene (TNT).

Published in:

Journal of Applied Physics  (Volume:103 ,  Issue: 9 )

Date of Publication:

May 2008

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