Angle-resolved scattering spectroscopy of explosives using an external cavity quantum cascade laser

Jonathan D. Suter, Bruce E. Bernacki, Mark C. Phillips

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Scopus citations


We present a study of the spectral and angular dependence of the diffuse scatter of mid-infrared (MIR) laser light from explosives residues on surfaces. Experiments were performed using an external cavity quantum cascade laser (ECQCL) tunable between 7 and 8 μm (1270 to 1400 cm -1) for surface illumination. A mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) detector was used to detect backscattered spectra as a function of surface angle at a 2 meter standoff. A ferroelectric focal plane array was used to build hyperspectral images at a 0.5 meter standoff. Residues of RDX, tetryl, and TNT were investigated on surfaces including a painted car door for angles between zero (specular) and 50 degrees. We observe spectral signatures of the explosives in the diffuse scattering geometry which differ significantly from those observed in transmission geometries. Characterization of the scattered light spectra of explosives on surfaces will be essential for understanding the performance of standoff explosives detection instruments and developing robust spectral analysis techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationQuantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices IX
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
EventQuantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices IX - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 22 2012Jan 26 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceQuantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices IX
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • explosives detection
  • hyperspectral imaging
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • quantum cascade laser

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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