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Chemical Tagging of Explosives


Chemical Tagging of Explosives

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-ANL/Analytical Chemistry/Chemistry

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Alexandrov K A

Leading Institute
Russian Academy of Sciences / Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • NPO Soyuz (2), Russia, Moscow reg., Dzerzhinsky\nTsNIIKhM (Chemistry and Mechanics), Russia, Moscow


  • Union Espanola de Explosivos S.A., Spain, Madrid

Project summary

Illegal proliferation of explosives is very dangerous in view of terrorist acts and local military conflicts. The political leaders of leading countries agree that the struggle against international terrorism is one of the most important priorities of international cooperation.

Recently, publications have appeared that describe practical realization of various aspects of explosive tagging and which are useful for comparison with approach proposed in current Project. This problem should be discussed separately in details and below we focus on system which can be shortly named as the system of active control because it based on the use of specially introduced additives. Thus, one can speak about peculiar “fingerprints” – explosive tagging.

It is necessary to develop a concept that would cover all the aspects of explosive tagging. The key elements of this concept were developed in the Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics (see below). Participation of specialists in various fields of science and engineering is a most important element for successful realization of the project.

The specific goals of the current project are as follows:

(a) to conduct a comparative analysis of various approaches to tagging of explosives to estimate sensitivity, selectivity, information capacity of taggants, and of the expected cost of technical realization;

(b) to test the pilot installation capable of detecting taggants by means of laser-induced, molecular, and EPR spectrometers.

In accordance with principal objective we plan perform the following main tasks:

— Choice of metal-containing additives and spectral range for there detection.
— Analysis of taggant behavior in the products of explosive detonation.
— Development of mathematical apparatus for processing the spectroscopic data.
— Demonstration tests with the use of tagged model samples.

In accordance with the purposes of the ISTC, the current project gives the possibility for the sciences and engineers involved in the development and production of weapon in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), in particular, nuclear weapon, for their professional alternatives in the sphere of civil scientific and engineer activity. Realization of this project is capable to give an essential contribution to the solution of the problems of national and international safety to improve considerably the system of control of proliferation of explosives and, correspondingly, sufficiently reduces the threat of terrorist acts with the use of explosives.

Realization of this project will stimulate further steps aimed at commercial development and experimental designing concerned with technology of explosive tagging and appropriate technology for decoding procedure. It will be valuable element contributing to the transition of military industry to civil market economy.

The current project supports fundamental and applied investigations of weapon scientists and engineers of CIS by involving them into the international scientific society. The program will be carried out with participation of Russian scientists and weapon engineers under financial support of ISCT. This proposal was prepared by the experts of Russian Academy of Sciences (Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences), State Scientific Center of Russian Federation Central Scientific and Research Institute of Chemistry and Mechanics, Federal Center of Dual Technologies “SOYUZ”, and Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology (Karlsrhue, Germany). The program manager is academician Goldanskii V.I. The activity of Russian participants will be coordinated from Moscow. The works in Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology will be supported by German side.

This Project will be carried out by scientists and engineers from the institutions mentioned above, which have been earlier involved in the scientific investigations connected with synthesis of explosives, studies of their physical-chemical properties, and development of the methods of their safety use. The experience obtained in these investigations will be used for solution of the problems formulated in the current Project.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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