Toward Confirmatory On-Site Real-Time Detection of Emerging Drugs Using Portable Ultrafast Capillary Electrophoresis Mass Spectrometry

  • Mehdi Moini
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1810)


Currently, law enforcement agencies rely upon presumptive tests such as color tests (or spot tests) for on-site, real-time identification of forensic evidence, such as controlled substances. These tests are simple and easy to use and require no instrumentation. However, they are unreliable and have a large false positive rate. On the other hand, confirmatory tests are done in analytical laboratories using sophisticated instrumentation by expert analysts, and have lower false positive rates. However, they are bulky and impractical for on-site real-time analysis. To provide more accurate identification of forensic evidence on-site, in real-time, it is important to develop portable confirmatory instrumentation using information-rich technologies. Moreover, because the analysis of controlled substances could be complicated by the existence of various isomers (including optical isomers) it is desirable that the portable instruments have the capability to separate structural and optical isomers of the controlled substances, because scheduling is some times dependent upon which isomer is present. To this end, we have developed a portable ultrafast capillary electrophoresis (UFCE) system for the separation of controlled substances and their structural and optical isomers. The UFCE instrument has an integrated porous tip for facile interfacing with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The technique has been successfully applied to the analysis of mixtures of several controlled substances such as amphetamines, cathinones, nor-mephedrone, and pregabalin and their optical isomers in about a minute.

Key words

Quick analysis of illicit drugs Ultrafast capillary electrophoresis mass spectrometry Portable confirmatory technique for forensic analysis On-site real-time detection Integrated electrospray ionization source Attomole sensitivity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mehdi Moini
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forensic SciencesGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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