Many methods have been developed to detect traces of high explosives such as trinitrotoluene (TNT), but most require large, lab-based analytical instruments such as UV absorption detectors or mass spectrometers, says Jianwei Xu from the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, who led the work. « We aimed to develop a portable, quick, inexpensive and highly sensitive alternative. »
Xu focused on fluorescent polymers whose light emission dims when exposed to vapors of molecules such as TNT that contain ‘nitro-groups’—the nitrogen-rich structure that give high explosives their energetic properties.
Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-09-fluorescent-polymer-explosive-devices.html#jCp