The potential of Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (IRMS) and Gas Chromatography-IRMS analysis of triacetone triperoxide in forensic explosives investigations

Karlijn D B Bezemer, Mattijs Koeberg, A.E.D.M. van der Heijden, Chris A. van Driel, Cornelia Blaga, Jildert Bruinsma, Arian C. van Asten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studying links between triacetone triperoxide (TATP) samples from crime scenes and suspects can assist in criminal investigations. Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) and gas chromatography (GC)-IRMS were used to measure the isotopic compositions of TATP and its precursors acetone and hydrogen peroxide. In total, 31 TATP samples were synthesized with different raw material combinations and reaction conditions. For carbon, a good differentiation and a linear relationship were observed for acetone–TATP combinations. The extent of negative (δ13C) fractionation depended on the reaction yield. Limited enrichment was observed for the hydrogen isotope (δ2H) values of the TATP samples probably due to a constant exchange of hydrogen atoms in aqueous solution. For oxygen (δ18O), the small isotopic range and excess of water in hydrogen peroxide resulted in poor differentiation. GC-IRMS and IRMS data were comparable except for one TATP sample prepared with high acid concentration demonstrating the potential of compound-specific isotope analysis. Carbon IRMS has practical use in forensic TATP investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1198-1207
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Volume61
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • explosives
  • forensic science
  • gas chromatography isotope ratio mass spectrometry
  • isotope ratio mass spectrometry
  • precursors
  • triacetone triperoxide

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