Triacetone triperoxide (TATP; pictured) can be easily prepared from acetone, a peroxide solution, and an acid. As such, it represents a putative threat to civilian and military personnel as an explosive of choice for extremists. A detection system that operates without instrumentation set, that is both portable and convenient has now been developed by researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.
The system is based on a thiol-to-disulfide oxidation which triggers the gelation of the explosive from the solution phase, the researchers explain.
The approach gives the authorities an immediate and obvious way to find triacetone triperoxide without requiring expensive and sophisticated analytical equipment or the addition of fluorescent dyes and use of an ultraviolet lamp as a detector.
- Detecting a peroxide-based explosive via molecular gelation,
Jing Chen, Weiwei Wu, Anne J. McNeil,
Chem. Commun. 2012.