Progress in LIBS for Land Mine Detection

Report No. ARL-TR-5127
Authors: Jennifer L. Gottfried, Russell S. Harmon, and Aaron LaPointe
Date/Pages: April 2010; 24 pages
Abstract: The ability to interrogate objects buried in soil and ascertain their chemical composition in-situ would be an important capability enhancement for both military and humanitarian demining. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) is a simple spark spectrochemical technique using a pulsed laser. Recent developments in broadband and man-portable LIBS provide the capability for the real-time detection of all elements at very high sensitivity in any target material. This technological advance offers a unique potential for the development of a rugged and reliable man-portable or robot-deployable chemical sensor that would be capable of both in-situ point probing and chemical sensing for land mine detection. In this study, broadband LIBS spectra were acquired under laboratory conditions for more than a dozen different types of antipersonnel and antitank land mine casings from four countries. A set of antitank land mine simulants was also acquired. Subsequently, a statistical classification technique (partial least-squares discriminant analysis) was used to discriminate land mine casings from the simulants and to assign "unknown" spectra to a mine type based upon a library classification approach. Overall, a correct classification success of 99.0% was achieved, with a misclassification rate of only 1.8%.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2010