, Volume 395, Issue 2, pp 259-274
Date: 30 May 2009

Laser-based standoff detection of explosives: a critical review


A review of standoff detection technologies for explosives has been made. The review is focused on trace detection methods (methods aiming to detect traces from handling explosives or the vapours surrounding an explosive charge due to the vapour pressure of the explosive) rather than bulk detection methods (methods aiming to detect the bulk explosive charge). The requirements for standoff detection technologies are discussed. The technologies discussed are mostly laser-based trace detection technologies, such as laser-induced-breakdown spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, laser-induced-fluorescence spectroscopy and IR spectroscopy but the bulk detection technologies millimetre wave imaging and terahertz spectroscopy are also discussed as a complement to the laser-based methods. The review includes novel techniques, not yet tested in realistic environments, more mature technologies which have been tested outdoors in realistic environments as well as the most mature millimetre wave imaging technique.


Standoff detection and identification is one of the most wanted capabilities