Tetrahydrocannabinol and psychoactive substances

Detection of Δ9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in air using a FAIMS microchip sensor

Detection of Δ9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in air at low ppb level using a Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometry microchip sensor

Detection of illicit drugs and psychoactive substances is of increasing interest in the field of road safety due to the dramatic consequences they can have. Actually, the drugs consumption constitutes a real problem in the field of public security and traffic safety. It is recognized that cannabis, after alcohol, is the most commonly used drug in the world and it is the most frequently encountered psychoactive substance in blood of drivers involved in traffic accidents. Usually, compounds like amphetamines and cannabis derivates were analyzed by conventional techniques such as GC-MS and LC-MS/MS, but these techniques require an extensive sample preparation and the use of specific experimental conditions.

Owlstone Medical FAIMS microchip sensor technology allows analytes of interest to be separated from co-eluting species based on the differing mobilities of analyte ions subjected to a powerful oscillating electric field whilst in a flow of carrier gas. High electric fields allow extremely fast quantitative measurements, thus the potential of FAIMS instrument to be developed as a portable and fast detection device in the field of public security.Mohsen 2014 Figure 2

FAIMS microchip sensor allows a fast and sensitive detection of two types of psychoactive compounds in the air at low ppb levels as shown in this study. In presence of methanol as solvent, two peaks perfectly separated were obtained in FAIMS spectrum. Indeed, each target compound appears at a specific Compensation Voltage under a fixed Dispersion Field.


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