New method developed to detect and trace homemade bombs

Researchers at King's College London, in collaboration with Northumbria University, have developed a new way of detecting homemade explosives which will help forensic scientists trace where it came from.

The approach uses ion chromatography— , published today in Analytica Chimica Acta. Scientists show that through using this technique, they can detect a very large number of components of homemade explosives down to very low trace amounts.

Homemade explosives are frequently used in a number of different crimes, including the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the Oslo attacks in 2011. They are also used in ATM robberies. They have traditionally been very challenging to detect and trace in samples submitted for .

Lead author Dr. Matteo Gallidabino said: "The method we developed is less time consuming and represents a viable solution for challenging explosives like these. By combining this approach with advanced data analytics, added intelligence can be retrieved from any evidence recovered. This has the potential to significantly impact and further enhance the role of forensics in the administration of justice."

The team successfully went on to use the new approach to interpret the time since explosives materials were handled by the original maker, analysing sweat. They were also able to analyse gunshot residue to trace the type of ammunition used.

Dr. Leon Barron from King's College London said: "The technique is able to tell us so much more than just the explosives content. It detects thousands of different compounds simultaneously, which means there is an element of in-built future-proofing capability to detect new types of explosives if needed or provide critical information about where a device came from or who it belongs to."


Explore further

Detecting trace amounts of explosives with light

Journal information: Analytica Chimica Acta

Citation: New method developed to detect and trace homemade bombs (2019, May 10) retrieved 16 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-method-homemade.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
9 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more