Peroxide-based explosives, such as triacetone triperoxide (TATP), have been increasingly used in criminal activities as they can be easily obtained and are highly sensitive (TATP has 88% the explosive equivalence of TNT). However, detecting TATP is not easy, despite its considerable vapour pressure at room temperature (7.87Pa), This is mainly because of its lack of nitro- or aromatic-groups, which could be revealed in UV absorbance or fluorescence spectra.
Here, researchers in China have demonstrated a new strategy to detect explosive peroxide vapor via deboronation reaction induced fluorescence quenching with good sensitivity (the detection limit of TATP vapour was estimated to be ~0.5ppm), selectivity and fast response.
Link to journal article
Highly Efficient Fluorescent Sensor of Explosive Peroxide Vapor via ZnO Nanorod Array Catalyzed Deboronation of Pyrenyl borate
C He et al
Chem. Commun., 2012, DOI: 10.1039/c2cc31386c