14 Sep 2017

Legal high, cocaine and ketamine application note | Spectroscopy Solutions

Our Education Business Partnership collaboration with Mia Abbott and Staffordshire University has yielded a new application note on the confirmatory testing of the legal high mephedrone along with illegal drugs ketamine and cocaine and other cutting agents.


Read the application note to see the actual results of Mia's legal high and narcotic analysis using the Quest ATR spectrometer accessory.

If you want more information on using the Quest ATR for FTIR analysis, request a free price estimate and demonstration.

Analyzing legal highs with ATR spectroscopy

Quick recap, Mia was asked to test 12 unmarked samples and detect the dangerous legal high known as mephedrone, for the Staffordshire Police Force.

Combining GCMS and ATR spectroscopy, Mia developed a quick, simple and efficient method for detecting and confirming drug samples.

Select Science interviewed Mia Abbott on her use of the Quest ATR-FTIR spectrometer accessory in her research and she was very pleased with the tool.

I like FTIR because it was fast... The (Quest) ATR was brilliant for the fact that it didn’t require sample preparation, which was a major advantage over the GCMS.

As I had limited amounts of each sample, it meant that I could prioritize the FTIR and retrieve the sample from it for reuse, unlike the GCMS, where, once it was dissolved in the methanol, it was hard to retrieve it again.

Watch our interview with Mia on drug analysis

You can watch our video at Staffordshire University to learn more about Mia's research and for some tips on how the perform similar analysis.

How to analyze legal highs using ATR spectroscopy

Read our checklist on how to test sensitive samples, such as powdered drugs, using ATR spectroscopy:

  1. weigh sample before sample analysis
  2. insert sample onto ATR puck, covering the crystal prism completely
  3. run spectra
  4. carefully remove sample using a clean cloth
  5. place sample in clean beaker/container
  6. record weight of recovered sample
  7. clean puck using lens-type tissue and methanol or equivalent

Read more of our drug analysis application notes

We also have an application note on cannabis and cocaine analysis using the Quest ATR spectrometer accessory.

Read our cannabis and cocaine ATR analysis application note.

And we have an older application note on the analysis of cocaine and caffeine, using our Golden Gate ATR spectrometer accessory.

Read our cocaine and caffeine ATR analysis application note.

To learn more about what spectroscopy can do, check out #SpectroscopySolutions for more insights into the applications XRF and FTIR can fit. 

Look up #SpectroscopyGuides for tips and tricks to help your analysis.

Also, check out our #SpectroscopySolutions presence on YouTube!