Identification of inorganic oxidizing salts in homemade explosives using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.


Department of Forensic Chemistry, Criminal Investigation Police University of China, Shenyang 110035, China. Electronic address: [Email]


Recently, inorganic low explosives, such as pyrotechnic composition, black powder, and ammonium nitrate, are commonly used in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the rioter or terrorists since these energetic materials can be obtained easily and legally from civilian markets. Identification of inorganic oxidizing salts in these homemade explosives, including nitrates, chlorates, and perchlorates, is a necessary procedure for forensic investigators to provide criminal evidences. In this article, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy was used to discriminate NO3-, CO32-, ClO3-, ClO4-, SO42-, and NH4+, whose characteristic absorption bands were explained by vibration modes of the covalent bonds. Then the spectral absorption features of nitrate salts with monovalent or divalent cations were discussed. Furthermore, it was studied whether nitrates or perchlorates can be unequivocally distinguished with the presence of carbonate and sulfate impurities through FTIR technique. Finally, the feasibility of this method was verified through an analytical case of homemade explosives.


Chlorates,Forensic analysis,Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy,Homemade explosives,Inorganic oxidizing salts,Nitrates,Perchlorates,

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