Analytica chimica acta

Detection of explosives on the surface of banknotes by Raman hyperspectral imaging and independent component analysis.

PMID 25682242


The aim of this study was to develop a methodology using Raman hyperspectral imaging and chemometric methods for identification of pre- and post-blast explosive residues on banknote surfaces. The explosives studied were of military, commercial and propellant uses. After the acquisition of the hyperspectral imaging, independent component analysis (ICA) was applied to extract the pure spectra and the distribution of the corresponding image constituents. The performance of the methodology was evaluated by the explained variance and the lack of fit of the models, by comparing the ICA recovered spectra with the reference spectra using correlation coefficients and by the presence of rotational ambiguity in the ICA solutions. The methodology was applied to forensic samples to solve an automated teller machine explosion case. Independent component analysis proved to be a suitable method of resolving curves, achieving equivalent performance with the multivariate curve resolution with alternating least squares (MCR-ALS) method. At low concentrations, MCR-ALS presents some limitations, as it did not provide the correct solution. The detection limit of the methodology presented in this study was 50 μg cm(-2).