Identification of inorganic ions in post-blast explosive residues using portable CE instrumentation and capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detection.Electrophoresis. 2008 Nov; 29(22):4593-602.E
Novel CE methods have been developed on portable instrumentation adapted to accommodate a capacitively coupled contactless conductivity detector for the separation and sensitive detection of inorganic anions and cations in post-blast explosive residues from homemade inorganic explosive devices. The methods presented combine sensitivity and speed of analysis for the wide range of inorganic ions used in this study. Separate methods were employed for the separation of anions and cations. The anion separation method utilised a low conductivity 70 mM Tris/70 mM CHES aqueous electrolyte (pH 8.6) with a 90 cm capillary coated with hexadimethrine bromide to reverse the EOF. Fifteen anions could be baseline separated in 7 min with detection limits in the range 27-240 microg/L. A selection of ten anions deemed most important in this application could be separated in 45 s on a shorter capillary (30.6 cm) using the same electrolyte. The cation separation method was performed on a 73 cm length of fused-silica capillary using an electrolyte system composed of 10 mM histidine and 50 mM acetic acid, at pH 4.2. The addition of the complexants, 1 mM hydroxyisobutyric acid and 0.7 mM 18-crown-6 ether, enhanced selectivity and allowed the separation of eleven inorganic cations in under 7 min with detection limits in the range 31-240 microg/L. The developed methods were successfully field tested on post-blast residues obtained from the controlled detonation of homemade explosive devices. Results were verified using ion chromatographic analyses of the same samples.