Experts encounter a serious problem when studying the crime scene after an explosion. They can establish to a high degree of probability the type and power of the device used by terrorists and with what explosive substance it was filled with. However, they are usually unable to answer the most important question as to where and when the explosive itself was made: TNT is still TNT, regardless of the where and when it was produced.
Specialists from the Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics and their colleagues from several defense enterprises have developed special encoding additives. If these additives are introduced to the composition of the explosive, the site of the explosion will leave a kind of fingerprint, with which the explosive could be identified and the path of its legal movements could be traced; this would give the investigation into an incident of this kind a thread to uncover the supply channels of the terrorists. This most important work was fulfilled by the researchers in the framework of ISTC Project # 1292.
It is very difficult to make such encoding additives specifically for explosives; the requirements are too strict. On one hand they have to be completely harmless to the product (the explosive) and to the environment in their own right. On the other hand the explosion must not damage the encoding additive. And of course they all have to be individual, to ensure the reliability of the identification process. No dirt or impurities should be able to hinder the recognition of markers or to confuse them.
Olga Myznikova | alfa
Next Generation Cryptography
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