rapid screening and identification of illegal Drug.. (DIRAC)
rapid screening and identification of illegal Drugs by IR Absorption spectroscopy and gas Chromatography
Start date: Jun 1, 2010,
End date: Mar 31, 2014
"The goal of this project is to develop an advanced sensor system, that combines miniaturized Gas Chromatography (GC) as its key chemical separation tool, and Hollow-Fiber-based Infra Red Absorption Spectroscopy (HF-IRAS) as its key analytical tool to recognize and detect illicit drugs, key precursors and potential derivatives. The DIRAC sensor will be developed to: 1) be used on the field primarily by customs officers for controls at the EU external frontiers and by law enforcement personnel for intra-Community checks as a rugged and hand-portable unit; 2) perform rapid detection of key chemicals; 3) reject interferents with minimal false positive alarm rate; 4) perform advanced data analyses such as similarity evaluation between the chemical structure of the unknown sample with that of controlled/illicit substances. Currently, GC-IRAS (through FTIR implementation) is, together with GC-MS (Mass Spectrometry), the most powerful technique for the identification and quantification of amphetamines. However, so far GC-IRAS has been implemented only as bench-top instrumentation for forensic applications and bulk analysis down to milli- and micro-gram quantities. In DIRAC, the use of silicon-micromachined GC columns, solid state lasers, and hollow fibres IR, will allow to develop a GC-IRAS sensor that features hand-portability and prompt response –for field operation– and is capable to perform both bulk analysis and trace analysis with nano-gram sensitivity. The DIRAC sensor will further feature a) an advanced sampling device, that separates the analyte from larger amounts of interfering materials (dust, skin particles) by electrostatic charging; and, b), an advanced silicon micro-machined pre-concentration device, capable to treat sequentially both volatile ATS substances and non volatile ammonium salts of the amphetamines. The main output of the DIRAC project will be a fully functional sensor prototype from sampling to read out."
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