Use of DART-TOF-MS for Screening Drugs of Abuse

  • Robert R. SteinerEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1810)


Screening is an integral component of an analytical scheme to identify the presence of controlled substances in submissions to the crime laboratory. Many techniques are utilized, including color tests, thin-layer chromatography, and ultraviolet spectroscopy. While these are useful techniques to guide the examiner, all will, at best, categorize the material into a broad group of compounds. Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART), coupled with a time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer, is an emerging technique that yields highly definitive screening data leading to the identity of controlled substances present in a case sample. Sample preparation is quick and simple and run times are typically only a few minutes. Collected data will allow the examiner to determine appropriate standards for confirmation, making the overall analysis much more efficient. Presented here is a guide to using this technique for the screening of case submissions for controlled substances.

Key words

Direct analysis in real time Time-of-flight Mass spectrometry Controlled substances Drug screening 


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia Department of Forensic ScienceCentral LaboratoryRichmondUSA

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