Cambridge, England--In the August, 2013 issue of the Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves, researchers at TeraView described carrying out terahertz spectral characterization of different explosives of special interest to the Spanish National Security Forces ("Guardia Civil"). The researchers used terahertz radiation from 0.060 THz to 3.5 THz, using a TeraView TPS Spectra 3000 system in the lab to determine the refractive index, absorbance, and complex permittivity of the explosive samples.
The samples included bullet gunpowder, mine gunpowder, PETN (C5H8N4O12), TNT, and RDX (also called cyclonite). The TeraView researchers determined that differing fabrication processes for the explosives lead to the same spectral behaviors and characteristics, and additives in the samples did not alter their primary electromagnetic properties.
The TeraView system could measure samples down to 10 mg in mass. TeraView says the results will be used to design future terahertz imaging systems that allow to detect and identify explosives in security and defense applications, and/or to do laboratory studies after a terrorism event.