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Scientists work on ways to track terror bomb sources

Organic peroxides are being increasingly preferred as explosives by terrorists.

Updated: May 28, 2010, 15:49 PM IST

Sydney: Organic peroxides are being increasingly preferred as explosives by terrorists because they can be easily prepared and don`t required to be purchased off the shelf.
New techniques for tracking bomb-making materials, and possibly pointing the way towards the terrorists themselves, are being researched at Flinders University. The research being undertaken at Flinders has the potential to make a contribution towards fighting the global war on terror.

Flinders researchers have found that tell-tale evidence can be tracked through material which has survived the explosion.

It can point to the source material which could be a substance like hydrogen peroxide that is used, amongst other purposes, by hairdressers as bleach.

Stewart Walker, associate professor in forensic and analytical chemistry at Flinders, said bombs based on organic peroxides - which were used in the London transit system bombings in 2005--could contain impurities in the "starter material" that can be used to identify the source of the explosive.

"These impurities may serve as markers for the identification of the starting materials and batches of explosives for evidence or intelligence purposes, in a similar manner to that established for illicit drug analysis," said Walker, according to a Flinder`s release.

"Identifying the starter material gives you an opportunity to find a chemical fingerprint which could then lead you to a source of that material or establish a pattern of use which could also help identify the user," he said.

IANS