Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Chemistry

Content Description

1 online resource (ix, 24 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jeremy Feldblyum

Committee Members

Michael Yeung


direct analysis in real time- mass spectrometry, energetic compounds, explosive sensing, metal-organic framework, nitroaromatics, Explosives, TNT (Chemical), Mass spectrometry, High resolution spectroscopy, Adsorption, Chemistry, Forensic

Subject Categories

Chemistry | Materials Science and Engineering


The detection of energetic compounds – better known to the public as explosives – has is an important cornerstone of counterterrorism and homeland security . While significant advances have been achieved for the detection of trace explosives in various matrices such as soil, wastewater, and clothing, the detection of explosives in the gas phase remains challenging due to their infamously low vapor pressures. In this thesis, we leverage the high sensitivity of direct analysis in real-time mass spectrometry (DART-MS) and the microporosity of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) to adsorb and therefore concentrate explosives from the vapor phase and subsequently detect them by DART-MS. Specifically, we use the air-stable zirconium MOFs UiO-66 and UiO-67 to adsorb gas-phase 1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocane (HMX), 1,3,5-trinitroperhydro-1,3,5-triazine (RDX), and 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). After adsorption, DART-MS would potentially be used to detect the MOF-concentrated explosives. We discovered that UiO-66 and UiO-67 did not adsorb enough HMX and RDX for subsequent detection by DART-MS. However, TNT could be detected in the MOF by vapor phase adsorption. We therefore varied several parameters including adsorption time and MOF mass to determine how these parameters influenced the results of detecting TNT via DART-MS.