Thursday, May 29, 2008

Super-sensitive spray-on explosive detector makes great television

This is cool! Can I get a batch to test? How much does it cost? I want some!

RSC Press Release: Super-sensitive spray-on explosive detector makes great television: "US scientists have designed a new spray-on explosive detector sensitive enough to detect just a billionth of a gram of explosive. After treatment the explosive glows blue under UV light, making it perfect for use in the field - or on CSI: Miami.

William Trogler and his team at the University of California, San Diego, made a silafluorene-fluorene copolymer to identify nitrogen-containing explosives. It is the first of its kind to act as a switchable sensor with picogram (10-15g) detection limits, and is reported in the Royal Society of Chemistry's Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Trogler's polymer can detect explosives at much lower levels than existing systems because it detects particles instead of explosive vapours. In the team's new method one simply sprays the polymer solution over the test area, let it dry, and shine UV light on it. Spots of explosive quench the fluorescent polymer and turn blue - this makes it quick and visually exciting enough to be featured on the hit US TV programme CSI: Miami.

The polymer is able to show the difference between nitrate esters, such as trinitroglycerin, and nitroaromatic explosives, such as TNT."

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