Table of Contents
ISRN Optics
Volume 2013, Article ID 419507, 8 pages
Research Article

Terahertz Frequency Continuous-Wave Spectroscopy and Imaging of Explosive Substances

Ultrafast Optics and Nanophotonics Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2V4

Received 4 January 2013; Accepted 28 January 2013

Academic Editors: X. Chen, A. K. Dharmadhikari, and S. R. Restaino

Copyright © 2013 Michael A. Startsev and Abdulhakem Y. Elezzabi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Continuous-wave terahertz (THz) radiation spectroscopy was performed on high explosive materials using a tuneable optical parametric oscillator (OPO). Military grade, solid-phase, explosive substances, such as cyclotetramethylenetetranitramine (HMX), cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine (RDX), pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), and composition-4, were spectrally scanned over the 0.7–1.9 THz frequency range under experimental conditions modeling that of “real-world” security screenings. Spectral peak locations and spectral line broadening effects were quantified using a Lorentz lineshape fit algorithm. The full-width half-maximum (FWHM) parameter computed by the Lorentz fit algorithm was shown to help in the identification of samples with broad and sparse spectral characteristics. A concealed explosives identification scheme was demonstrated through raster scan THz frequency radiation imaging at specific OPO tuning frequencies.