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Metal-organic frameworks for the trace detection of explosive substances and related compounds

Jurcic, M; (2018) Metal-organic frameworks for the trace detection of explosive substances and related compounds. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The threat of terrorism-related explosive attacks is substantial. Thus, the successful detection of explosives, be that on a person, surface or as a vapour, is of great importance. Despite a number of effective trace detection methods being currently available, there is still a requirement to develop novel materials that demonstrate timely, sensitive, selective, and portable sensing of explosives. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) have emerged in recent years as promising candidates for the fluorescence-based detection of explosives owing to their structural tailor-ability, facile synthesis, variable luminescence properties and high permanent porosities. This thesis further expands on the relatively limited knowledge of MOFs for the application of trace explosives detection, with a particular focus on probing their potential for real-world applicability. The first experimental Chapter details a pilot study whereby two novel fluorescent MOFs have been synthesised and characterised for the vapour-phase detection of explosives-related compounds. It was found that porosity is an important consideration for analyte detection. Chapter three discusses the synthesis and characterisation of another novel fluorescent MOF, which was tested for its ability to detect trace quantities of explosives as both vapours and liquids. This MOF demonstrated flexibility in its structure. Thus, additional techniques were used for its characterisation; included in this was in-depth study of its humidity stability. Chapter four investigates the use of MOFs in sensory arrays for the discriminative detection of explosives. It was found that MOFs can identify explosives they are exposed to using this approach. Chapter five explores the potential of MOFs as explosive vapour pre-concentrators; samples of the MOF presented in Chapter three could be used to capture and release 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene vapours. Ultimately, this thesis combines materials synthesis, crystal engineering, various materials characterisation techniques with fluorescence spectroscopy and mass spectrometry to conclude that MOFs hold promising potential in the application of trace explosives detection.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Metal-organic frameworks for the trace detection of explosive substances and related compounds
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044576
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