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Title: Detection and identification of chemical warfare agents and explosives in complex matrices
Author: Harvey, Alexandra
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2019
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This research explores the use of comprehensive gas chromatography (GCxGC) with different detectors for military applications. Two military applications are focused on in this thesis; firstly, the use of GCxGC time of flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) for the analysis of samples returned from operational environments and, secondly, for the analysis of operational samples in the field, exploring the possibility of a portable instrument. Operational samples are highly complex and can contain organic matter such as blood, dirt, oils, diesel and other compounds that are found within that environment. Current methods require operators to send the sample back to the laboratory for analysis where the sample is cleaned using solid phase extraction (SPE) before analysis via analytical equipment. This research demonstrates that a sample containing explosive or chemical warfare agent (CWA) material can be analysed using GCxGC-TOF-MS without the need for SPE, allowing the sample to be untampered thus minimising the loss of sample as well as the possibility of contamination from other sources. Similarly, in the field where a suspected deposited CWA or explosive is found, a sample is taken and analysed via ion mobility spectrometry or a spectroscopic technique. These techniques can detect the species of interest but struggle when environmental contamination is present which can lead to false alarms. This research demonstrates the use of a 6-port valve to perform GCxGC-FID analysis on explosives and CWAs in simulated operational samples and explores the possibility of creating a fully portable GCxGC system for use in the field.
Supervisor: Lewis, Alastair Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available