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Field Detection of Drugs and Explosives by SPME-IMS

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2012
275 pages
This project's objective was to develop and validate the use of field portable instrumentation for the rapid detection and identification of controlled substances and explosives in a large volume, such as a room or a container, in a non-intrusive manner.
The researchers have successfully described the volatile and semi-volatile chemical compounds of several illegal drugs and chemical explosives in order to assist in the design and application of canine detection training aids. Researchers also developed pre-concentration and sampling devices based on Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) for the capture of small quantities of the volatile compounds (on the order of ng) for subsequent detection using an Ion Mobility Spectrometer (IMS) with an in-house developed interface. The sampling and concentration of volatile signatures from a variety of drugs - including cocaine, cannabis, and MDMA (ecstasy), along with explosives and smokeless powders (propellants) - was achieved. The existing large installed base of 15,000 IMS instruments makes this technology viable as a crime-scene detection tool. The already proven use of detection canine teams also makes the approach a viable alternative to other instrumental detectors. It is also now possible to use miniaturized IMS instruments in the field or at the crime scene. The product from the completed research will advance the detection of drugs and explosives by both instrumental and canine methods of detection. A company that distributes explosives detection kits to first responders has licensed the technology developed through this work; it will begin to market a commercial version of the technology in late 2011. A workshop for first responders will be conducted in September 2011 in Florida in order to raise awareness of the use of this technology to sample and detect drugs and explosives in the field. 24 figures, 10 tables, 184 references, and appended listing of peer-reviewed publications and presentations derived from the research

Date Published: January 1, 2012