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Trace Quantity of Explosives


LETI - Development of Instruments and Technique Based on Combination of Ion Mobility Spectrometry and Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry for Identification of Trace Quantity of Explosives

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-ANL/Analytical Chemistry/Chemistry
  • INS-DET/Detection Devices/Instrumentation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Savinova N V

Leading Institute
MIFI, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Forensic Science Center of the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Russian Federation, Russia, Moscow\nVacuum Ceramics, Ltd., Russia, Moscow


  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, USA, CA, Livermore

Project summary

This project is directed on creation of new technique and technology of indication and identification trace quantities of explosion substances (including explosion rests). Feature of this project is combination of ion mobility spectrometer and time-of-flight mass spectrometer. This combination is conditioned by the fact that ion mobility spectrometer / mass spectrometer is much faster then liquid chromatograph / mass spectrometer and identification ability such as liquid chromatograph / mass spectrometer. Because previous efforts of combining ion mobility spectrometry with time-of-flight mass spectrometry was unsuccessful, this project provides for creating a new interface that support transfer from atmospheric ion movements conditions to vacuum with or without additional intermediate ionization. In the former case attention will be focused on creating distinctive for the develop combination catalogue of mass spectra of analyzed substances in terms of optimization selection reagent gas for processing ion-molecular reactions in the ion source.

Another fundamental part of solved problem is pointed to selection and realizing set of ion source that adapted to aggregate condition of analyzed object on one side and most specific to chemical formula molecules on the other side. Most preferable candidate on the function of such sources are the sources established on the chemical ionization at the atmospheric pressure or corona discharge (for gases and vapors), electrospray (for liquids) and also assume to examine specific add-on devices for sampling of solids.

With the goal of improving parameters of known ion mobility spectrometers, it is planned to use innovations associated with new scheme of ion gate, new construction of detector that allows adjusting resolution and sensitivity and new device control interface.

In the part of time-of-flight mass spectrometer it is planned to use reflectron time-of-flight mass analyzer with orthogonal injection of ion beam and detection of ions with SEM and registration system based on high-speed ADC.

Realization of the project includes:

  1. Projecting, modeling, development and production of design documentation of elements, units and device as a whole.
  2. Production, assembling and setting up of units and device as a whole.
  3. Development of software for device control and mass spectra processing
  4. Creating standard (pure) and model (real self-made and real contaminated in explosion rests) explosives.
  5. Finalizing of methods of indication and identification of standard substances.


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