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Validation of the Direct Analysis in Real Time Source for Use in Forensic Drug Screening

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The Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) ion source is a relatively new mass spectrometry technique that is seeing widespread use in chemical analyses world-wide. DART studies include such diverse topics as analysis of flavors and fragrances, melamine in contaminated dog food, differentiation of writing inks, characterization of solid counterfeit drugs, and as a detector for planar chromatography. Validation of this new technique for the rapid screening of forensic evidence for drugs of abuse, utilizing the DART source coupled to an accurate mass time-of-flight mass spectrometer, was conducted. The study consisted of the determination of the lower limit of detection for the method, determination of selectivity and a comparison of this technique to established analytical protocols. Examples of DART spectra are included. The results of this study have allowed the Virginia Department of Forensic Science to incorporate this new technique into their analysis scheme for the screening of solid dosage forms of drugs of abuse.

Keywords: Direct Analysis in Real Time; controlled substances; drugs of abuse; forensic science; mass spectrometry; validation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Virginia Department of Forensic Science, Central Laboratory Drug Analysis Section, 700 N. 5th Street, Richmond, VA 23219.

Publication date: May 1, 2009


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