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The non-destructive detection of explosives is necessary to assure safety and security. It is essential for criminal investigations, minefield remediation, military applications, ammunition remediation sites, security applications, etc. Chemical sensors play a vital role in such cases.

Explosive poly-nitroaromatic compounds can be analyzed usually by sophisticated instrumental techniques. But the requirements for quick decision making in criminology laboratories or reclaimed military sites require simple, cheap, and selective field techniques, which will be non-destructive in nature.

Non-destructive sensing of nitroaromatic chemicals (NACs) is difficult. While earlier studies are based mostly on photo-luminescent property, detection on the basis of conducting property has not been explored so far.

A thermally stable and cost-effective sensor was recently developed by Indian scientists for the detection of high-energy explosives. The electronic polymer-based sensor is designed for rapidly detecting nitro-aromatic chemicals used in high-energy explosives, according to India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Detection on the basis of conducting property helps in making a handy detection device where results can be seen with the help of LED. The team developed a layer-by-layer (LBL) polymer detector, a system funded by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology.

The tri-layer polymer matrix was found to be a very efficient molecular sensor for nitroaromatic chemicals. The sensor device is quite simple and reversible in nature, and its response does not alter with varying operating temperature in presence of other common chemicals and humidity, according to