Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


New NIST Trace Explosives Standard Slated for Homeland Security Duty

Security personnel need to be able to find explosive materials and persons who have been in contact with them.

To aid such searches, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), with support from the Department of Homeland Security, has developed a new certified reference material, Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2905, Trace Particulate Explosives.

Compatible with field and laboratory assay methods, the SRM will be helpful in calibrating, testing and developing standard best operating procedures for trace-explosives detectors.

Most air travelers have probably had some experience with prototype walkthrough portal or tabletop-type trace explosive detectors. Customs inspectors use the machines to check international cargo shipments, and firefighters and police officers use them to evaluate suspicious packages.

The goal of these detectors is to effectively collect residue particles that result from handling materials that might be used to fabricate a bomb and then evaluate the explosives content. For example, when operating the tabletop device, security personnel use a piece of material to swab packages and bags for explosive residues. The security officer then places the swab in a tabletop device that heats the material, separating any chemical residues that may have been absorbed.

Like other sensitive instruments, these machines need well-defined calibration standards to ensure that they are working properly. According to NIST chemist William MacCrehan, the calibration materials that the vendors of these machines provide are typically of unknown quality.

“These detectors need to be reliable and precise enough to detect particles that weigh as little as a few billionths of a gram,” says MacCrehan. “We created this SRM to provide manufacturers and operators with high quality, independently generated and validated reference test materials to enable better designs and reduce the number of false positives and negatives.”

SRM 2905 consists of four different test substances designed to simulate trace residues of C-4 plastic explosives and TNT. The substances themselves consist of inert solid particles about 20 to 30 microns in diameter. The particles have been coated with explosive materials and a florescent tag, which enables the material to be seen using specially filtered optics or glasses. Although the particles are coated with explosive material, MacCrehan says they are incapable of exploding on their own and are completely safe to handle.

This release is part of a larger, ongoing project to develop other wet and dry materials that simulate SEMTEX, gunpowder and peroxide-type explosives. According to MacCrehan, efforts also are underway to develop reference materials to help train bomb-sniffing dogs.

Mark Esser | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging
25.10.2016 | Colorado State University

nachricht Did you know that infrared heating is an essential part of automotive manufacture?
25.10.2016 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>