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Quick Screening of Crystal Methamphetamine/Methyl Sulfone Exhibits by Raman Spectroscopy

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The analysis of mixtures of “crystal meth” (usually comprised of methyl sulfone [MS] and methamphetamine [MA]) by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) is routine in many forensic drug laboratories. The utilization of Raman spectroscopy for the identification of such mixtures quickly and without the need for a separation technique is discussed. Samples were dissolved in water and Raman spectra of the resulting aqueous solutions were collected. By comparing these spectra to spectra of methylsulfone and MA mixtures of known composition, an indication of the composition of the sample can be obtained in only a few minutes. This spectral comparison also can be used as a semi-quantitative analysis of MA concentrations in such exhibits.

Keywords: Raman spectroscopy; controlled substances; crystal meth; drug mixtures; forensic science; isopropylbenzylamine; methamphetamine; methyl sulfone

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Criminalist, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, 800 E. 2nd Street, Edmond, OK 73034.

Publication date: 2010-07-01

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