The creation of an identification taggant that survives detonation and can easily be recovered would prove invaluable in situations such as a terrorist attack where the explosives have been detonated and need to be traced by law enforcement. This paper shows that traces of two elements, samarium (Sm) and holmium (Ho), can be identified from explosive post-blast residue. This is the first step to creating a viable taggant system that survives detonation. The two elements were introduced to the explosive before detonation, and the post-blast residue was analyzed by neutron activation analysis (NAA). These data indicate the presence of these elements when they are added to explosives. Importantly, these experiments also show that these elements are not present when they are not added to the explosives as well. Combining NAA with the doped explosive could potentially lead to the development of an identification taggant that is suitable for widespread use in commercial explosives.

Meeting Name

20th Biennial American Physical Society Conference on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter, SCCM 2017 (2017: Jul. 9-14, St. Louis, MO)


Mining Engineering

Second Department

Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science

International Standard Book Number (ISBN)


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0094-243X; 1551-7616

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 2018 The Author(s), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2018