Doctor of Philosophy
De Etta Mills
Forensic Science, Canine Detection, Drugs, Explosives, Controlled Odor Mimic Permeation System, Solid phase Microextraction, Gas Chromatography, Liquid Chromatrography, Mass Spectrometry
Date of Defense
Current commercially available mimics contain varying amounts of either the actual explosive/drug or the chemical compound of suspected interest by biological detectors. As a result, there is significant interest in determining the dominant chemical odor signatures of the mimics, often referred to as pseudos, particularly when compared to the genuine contraband material. This dissertation discusses results obtained from the analysis of drug and explosive headspace related to the odor profiles as recognized by trained detection canines. Analysis was performed through the use of headspace solid phase microextraction in conjunction with gas chromatography mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS). Upon determination of specific odors, field trials were held using a combination of the target odors with COMPS.
Piperonal was shown to be a dominant odor compound in the headspace of some ecstasy samples and a recognizable odor mimic by trained detection canines. It was also shown that detection canines could be imprinted on piperonal COMPS and correctly identify ecstasy samples at a threshold level of approximately 100ng/s. Isosafrole and/or MDP-2-POH show potential as training aid mimics for non-piperonal based MDMA. Acetic acid was shown to be dominant in the headspace of heroin samples and verified as a dominant odor in commercial vinegar samples; however, no common, secondary compound was detected in the headspace of either.
Because of the similarities detected within respective explosive classes, several compounds were chosen for explosive mimics. A single based smokeless powder with a detectable level of 2,4-dinitrotoluene, a double based smokeless powder with a detectable level of nitroglycerine, 2-ethyl-1-hexanol, DMNB, ethyl centralite and diphenylamine were shown to be accurate mimics for TNT-based explosives, NG-based explosives, plastic explosives, tagged explosives, and smokeless powders, respectively. The combination of these six odors represents a comprehensive explosive odor kit with positive results for imprint on detection canines.
As a proof of concept, the chemical compound PFTBA showed promise as a possible universal, non-target odor compound for comparison and calibration of detection canines and instrumentation.
In a comparison study of shape versus vibration odor theory, the detection of d-methyl benzoate and methyl benzoate was explored using canine detectors. While results did not overwhelmingly substantiate either theory, shape odor theory provides a better explanation of the canine and human subject responses.
Macias, Michael S., "The Development of an Optimized System of Narcotic and Explosive Contraband Mimics for Calibration and Training of Biological Detectors" (2009). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 123.