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Fluorescence Detection of the Explosive Urea Nitrate with p-DMAC

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 56 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2006 Pages: 325-332
E. Roland Menzel; Jake R. Schwierking
Date Published
May 2006
8 pages
This article examines the fluorescence detection of the explosive urea nitrate with p-DMAC.
The reactions of p-DMAC with urea require acidic conditions. When urea nitrate is dissolved in water, it dissociates. However, it is unclear whether the acidic condition for reaction is satisfied. In lieu of the similar colorimetric detection, fluorescence detection of fingerprints in the field of the explosive urea nitrate (the explosive used in the bombing of the World Trade Center) can provide substantial sensitivity gain if careful optical filtering is employed in compatibility with the fluorescence excitation source. With renewed interest in how fluorescence detection of fingerprints with p-DMAC identifies the explosive, urea nitrate and in follow-up to previous studies reporting that detection by fluorescence is ineffective because of excessive background fluorescence from the p-DMAC reagent itself. Figures, references