The method is a variation of photoacoustic spectroscopy but overcomes a number of problems associated with this technique originally demonstrated by Alexander Graham Bell in the late 1880s. Most notably, ORNL researchers are able to probe and identify materials in open air instead of having to introduce a pressurized chamber, which renders photoacoustic spectroscopy virtually useless for security and military applications.
ORNL’s technique, detailed in Applied Physics Letters 92, involves illuminating the target sample with an eye-safe pulsed light source and allowing the scattered light to be detected by a quartz crystal tuning fork.
“We match the pulse frequency of the illuminating light with the mechanical resonant frequency of the quartz crystal tuning fork, generating acoustic waves at the tuning fork’s air-surface interface,” said Charles Van Neste of ORNL’s Biosciences Division. “This produces pressures that drive the tuning fork into resonance.”
The amplitude of this vibration is proportional to the intensity of the scattered light beam falling on the tuning fork, which because of the nature of quartz creates a piezoelectric voltage.
Van Neste and co-authors Larry Senesac and Thomas Thundat note that other advantages of quartz tuning fork resonators include compact size, low cost, commercial availability and the ability to operate in field conditions environments.
For their experiments, researchers used tributyl phosphate and three explosives – cyclotrimethylenetrinitromine, trinitrotoluene, commonly known as TNT, and pentaerythritol tetranitrate. They were able to detect trace residues with lasers 100 times less powerful than those of competing technologies.
While the researchers have been able to detect explosives at 20 meters, using larger collection mirrors and stronger illumination sources, they believe they can achieve detection at distances approaching 100 meters.
This research was funded by DOE’s Office of Nonproliferation Research and Development and the Office of Naval Research. UT-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy.
Ron Walli | newswise
UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion
16.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
NASA keeps watch over space explosions
16.11.2018 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
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Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
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Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
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On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
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