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In recent years, Raman spectroscopy has increased in use in the forensic laboratory, particular in the trace chemistry and drug chemistry disciplines. In drug chemistry, Raman spectroscopy provides a useful analytical tool due to its rapid and non-destructive nature. In addition, the ability to sample through-container provides an efficient analytical mechanism particularly for bulk samples.

This study examined the use of Raman spectroscopy in three aspects of drug chemistry analysis: with a deconvolution software to identify clandestine laboratory liquid components, as a rapid, nondestructive screening test for methamphetamine in clandestine laboratory liquid samples, and as an enhanced technique for the isomeric determination of synthetic cathinones.

The authors found little implication for the multi-component searching software as it applies to clandestine laboratory liquid samples. The solvent spectrum was too strong relative to the spectra of the dissolved components to provide reliable and useful information about the minor contributors to the composite spectrum.

However, there were several promising areas to spur future research. Surfaced Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) had the ability to enhance the dissolved component signal, even though it did not provide enough strengthening of the signal to afford reliable search results. In addition, the use of Raman spectroscopy as a simple, rapid, non-destructive screening test was found to reduce chemist exposure to harmful vapors in forensic laboratories. Finally, there is a reasonable chance that discrimination between regioisomers and structural isomers can be accomplished via Raman spectroscopy.

Read the report.

Source: NIJ

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