Rapid Screening Device for Explosives

We are developing and optimizing a device for the rapid screening of energetics (e.g., TNT, NG, RDX), their byproducts and propellants in environmental samples, especially groundwater.

The overall approach will involve the integration of three technologies into a single unit. These steps include: (a) high-throughput dialysis with a semi-permeable, Nafion™ membrane to perform a simple, one-step separation of the neutral organic nitro compounds in the sample from potential ionic interferents, especially background nitrite and metal ions; (b) Irradiation with UV light to release photolytically nitrite ion with high selectivity from organic nitro compounds (e.g., explosives) in the resultant dialysate; and (c) sensitive and specific detection of the released nitrite using electrochemical detection to achieve low parts-per-billion (ppb) detection limits.