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Depth Profiling for the Identification of Unknown Substances and Concealed Content at Remote Distances Using Time-Resolved Stand-Off Raman Spectroscopy

Volume 66, Number 8 (Aug. 2012) Page 875-881


Time-resolved stand-off Raman spectroscopy was used to determine both the position and identity of substances relative to each other at remote distances (up to tens of meters). Spectral information of three xylene isomers, toluene, and sodium chlorate was obtained at a distance of 12 m from the setup. Pairs and triplets of these samples were placed at varying distances (10–60 cm) relative to each other. Via the photon time of flight the distance between the individual samples was determined to an accuracy of 7% (corresponding to a few cm) of the physically measured distance. Furthermore, at a distance of 40 m, time-resolved Raman depth profiling was used to detect sodium chlorate in a white plastic container that was non-transparent to the human eye. The combination of the ranging capabilities of Raman LIDAR (sample location usually determined using prior knowledge of the analyte of interest) with stand-off Raman spectroscopy (analyte detection at remote distances) provides the capability for depth profile identification of unknown substances and analysis of concealed content in distant objects. To achieve these results, a 532 nm laser with a pulse length of 4.4 ns was synchronized to an intensified charge-coupled device camera with a minimum gate width of 500 ps. For automated data analysis a multivariate curve resolution algorithm was employed.

Index Headings: Stand-off Raman spectroscopy; Remote detection; Raman LIDAR.