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Automated Method for the Analysis of Organic Explosive Residues by HPLC With a Pendant Mercury Drop Electrode Detector

NCJ Number
Science & Justice Volume: 36 Issue: 1 Dated: (January/March 1996) Pages: 15-20
W J McKeown; S J Speers
Date Published
6 pages
This article describes a system for the automated analysis of organic explosive residues by high-performance liquid chromatography with a pendant mercury drop electrode detector (HPLC-PMDE).
The system comprises a programmable HPLC autoinjector and a universal switching valve with on-line nitrogen which is programmed to deoxygenate and inject samples, dispense a fresh mercury drop on the PMDE detector at the start of each analysis run and initiate data collection. Once in operation, it requires minimal operator attention during each batched analysis run and has been performing routine analysis of organic explosive residues at the Forensic Science Agency of Northern Ireland for 2 years. The method reduces the amount of interference from oxygen to trace levels, thus allowing the detection of resolved organic residues. Currently a means of programming the system to automate the peak-trapping of organic residues for confirmation by liquid chromatography mass spectrometry is being investigated. Tables, figures, references