Spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) is demonstrated for the non-contact detection of energetic materials concealed within non-transparent, diffusely scattering containers. A modified design of an inverse SORS probe has been developed and tested. The SORS probe has been successfully used for the detection of various energetic substances inside different types of plastic containers. The tests have been successfully conducted under incandescent and fluorescent background lights as well as under daylight conditions, using a non-contact working distance of 6 cm. The interrogation times for the detection of the substances were less than 1 minute in each case, highlighting the suitability of the device for near real-time detection of concealed hazards in the field. The device has potential applications in forensic analysis and homeland security investigations.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.