Volume 26, Issue 2 (April 1981)
A Report on the Detection and Identification of Explosives by Tagging
The Explosives Tagging Program was begun to help law enforcement personnel prevent crimes committed with explosives and to improve apprehension of criminals after a bombing. The detection phase of this program involves long-lived vapors in microcapsules. These vapors are perfluorocarbons that may be detected by electron capture detectors, ion mobility spectrometers, mass spectrometers, and possibly animals. In the future, computer-assisted dual-energy tomography may detect explosives not tagged. For identification after detonation, tags must survive the heat and shock of the explosion and ensuing fire and the fire-fighters' water. A multilayered particle of melamine alkyd, each layer of which may be any one of ten colors, is suitable. Combinations of colors give a code that refers to the manufacturer's production lot, which enables the explosive to be traced to the last licensed holder.