Remote propellant residue detection using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS)

Period of Performance: 04/28/2006 - 05/28/2008


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Applied Spectra
123 Crosby Ct. #3
Walnut Creek, CA 94598
Principal Investigator


Terrorism is one of the greatest threats facing military and civilian personnel today. US military forces are increasingly exposed to deadly shoulder fired rocket attacks and improvised explosive devices in Iraq and other hostile environments. Such trends raise a significant security threat for terrorist attacks within the United States. In order to deter terrorist activities, US military warfighters need to have a capability for identifying hostile combatants who transported and/or launched a weapon. Rocket propelled weapons deposit chemical signatures containing residues as well as unexploded energetics on material surfaces (clothes, skin, hair, structures). In Phase I of this SBIR effort, we successfully demonstrated that LIBS (laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy) was a viable technology for detecting residues related to these energetic materials on clothing. The proposed Phase II effort would expand on system optimization and development, including laser and detector parameter space optimization, measurement of common propellant/explosive, their residues, and contaminants, data analysis software and prototype system demonstration for the Air Force. The work will leverage efforts at the Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, MD.