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Detection of the Peroxide Explosives TATP and HMTD


The explosive peroxide compounds triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and hexamethylenetriperoxide diamine (HMTD) are difficult to detect by conventional mass spectrometry methods. These compounds can be easily detected by the Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART™) ion source.


Measurements were made with the AccuTOF-DART mass spectrometer operated in positive-ion mode under standard conditions. Little or no heat was required to observe these compounds. Dilute solutions of standard samples of TATP and HMTD were analyzed by dipping melting point tubes into the liquid and dangling the melting point tubes in the DART ion source. Dilute aqueous ammonium hydroxide on a cotton swab was held in the DART gas stream to enhance detection of TATP as the ammoniated molecule.

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