A method for the analysis of the explosive triacetonetriperoxide (TATP) in ambient air is introduced. The high volatility of the peroxide leads to significant concentrations in the air surrounding even minute quantities of TATP, thus enabling the analyst to avoid direct contact with the sensitive explosive. Air sampling is performed using gas-washing bottles filled with acetonitrile and air sampling pumps at a flow-rate of 0.6 l min−1. A sampling and a back-up gas-washing bottle are connected in series to allow monitoring of possible breakthroughs in the sampling gas-washing bottle. After sampling, two different analytical methods were used: first, reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with subsequent post-column UV irradiation and electrochemical detection; and second, photochemical degradation of TATP with enzyme-catalyzed photometric detection. The limits of detection for 20 min of sampling time (12 l sample volume) were 190 ng l−1 air for the photometric method and 550 ng l−1 air for LC with electrochemical detection. The recovery was at least 75%.
- Air analysis
- Electrochemical detection