University of Illinois chemists have developed a simple sensor to detect an explosive used in shoe bombs. It could lead to inexpensive, easy-to-use devices for luggage and passenger screening at airports and elsewhere.
Triacetone triperoxide (TATP) is a high-powered explosive that in recent years has been used in several bombing attempts. TATP is easy to prepare from readily available components and has been difficult to detect. It defies most standard methods of chemical sensing: It does not fluoresce, absorb ultraviolet light, or readily ionize.