Increasing worldwide terrorist attacks involving explosives presents a growing need for a rapid and ranged explosive detection method that can safely be deployed in the field. Stand-off Raman spectroscopy shows great promise; however, the radiant exposures of lasers required for adequate signal generation are often much greater than what is safe for the eye or the skin, restricting use of the technique to unpopulated areas. Here, by determining the safe exposure levels for lasers typically used in Raman spectroscopy, optimal parameter values are identified, which produce the largest possible detection range using power densities that do not exceed the eye-safe limit. It is shown that safe ultraviolet pulse energies can be more than three orders of magnitude greater than equivalent safe visible pulse energies. Coupling this to the 16-fold increase in Raman signal obtained in the ultraviolet at 266 nm over that at 532 nm results in a 131 times larger detection range for the eye-safe 266-nm system over an equivalent eye-safe 532-nm laser system. For the Raman system described here, this translates to a maximum range of 42 m for detecting Teflon with a 266-nm laser emitting a 100-mm diameter beam of 23.5-mJ nanosecond pulses.
Carroll, Joshua A., Emad L. Izake, Biju Cletus, and Esa Jaatinen. (2015). "Eye-safe UV Stand-off Raman Spectroscopy for the Ranged Detection of Explosives in the Field." Journal of Raman Spectroscopy 46 (February): 333-338. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jrs.4642/abstract