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The two members of peroxide-based explosives, triacetone triperoxide (TATP) and hexamethylene triperoxide diamine (HMTD), can be manufactured from readily accessible reagents, and are difficult to detect by conventional analytical methods. TATP and HMTD were securely synthesized, taken up with acetone, hydrolyzed with 4 M HCl to hydrogen peroxide, the acidic solution containing H(2)O(2) was neutralized, and assayed by the copper(II)-neocuproine spectrophotometric method. The chromophore of the reaction was the Cu(I)-neocuproine chelate responsible for light absorption at 454 nm. The molar absorptivity (epsilon) of the method for TATP and HMTD was 3.45 x 10(4) and 4.68 x 10(4) L mol(-1) cm(-1), respectively. The TATP recovery from a synthetically contaminated loamy clay soil was 91-99%. The colorimetric method was also applied to a Cu(ii)-neocuproine-impregnated polymeric Nafion membrane sensor developed for the first time in this work for peroxide explosive assay. The absorbance-concentration response was perfectly linear, and the limit of detection (LOD) of the procedure for both TATP and HMTD was approximately 0.2 mg L(-1). Neither common soil ions (Ca(2+), K(+), Cl(-), SO(4)(2-), Mg(2+) and NO(3)(-)) at 100-fold amounts nor military-purpose nitro-explosives of TNT, RDX, and PETN at 10-fold amounts interfered with the proposed assay. Active oxygen constituents of laundry detergents (perborates and percarbonates), which normally interfered with the assay, could easily be separated from the analytes by solubility differences. The method was statistically validated against standard reference methods of TiOSO(4) colorimetry and GC-MS.


Sule Eren, Ayşem Uzer, Ziya Can, Timuçin Kapudan, Erol Erçağ, Reşat Apak. Determination of peroxide-based explosives with copper(II)-neocuproine assay combined with a molecular spectroscopic sensor. The Analyst. 2010 Aug;135(8):2085-91

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PMID: 20532268

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