Direct and Selective Electrochemical Vapor Trace Detection of Organic Peroxide Explosives via Surface Decoration

Vadim Krivitsky, Boris Filanovsky, Vladimir Naddaka, Fernando Patolsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to detect traces of highly energetic explosive materials sensitively, selectively, accurately, and rapidly could be of enormous benefit to civilian national security, military applications, and environmental monitoring. Unfortunately, the detection of explosives still poses a largely unmet arduous analytical problem, making their detection an issue of burning immediacy and a massive current challenge in terms of research and development. Although numerous explosive detection approaches have been developed, these methods are usually time-consuming, require bulky equipment, tedious sample preparation, a trained operator, cannot be miniaturized, and lack the ability to perform automated real-time high-throughput analysis, strongly handicapping their mass deployment. Here, we present the first demonstration of the "direct" electrochemical approach for the sensitive, selective, and rapid vapor trace detection of TATP and HMTD, under ambient conditions, unaffected by the presence of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide species, down to concentrations lower than 10 ppb. The method is based on the use of Ag-nanoparticles-decorated carbon microfibers air-collecting electrodes (μCF), which allow for the selective direct detection of the organic peroxide explosives, through opening multiple redox routes, not existent in the undecorated carbon electrodes. Finally, we demonstrate the direct and rapid detection of TATP and HMTD explosive species from real-world air samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5323-5330
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Direct and Selective Electrochemical Vapor Trace Detection of Organic Peroxide Explosives via Surface Decoration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this