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Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(6), 933; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8060933

Ambient Pressure Laser Desorption—Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Fast and Reliable Detection of Explosives, Drugs, and Their Precursors

1
Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Chair of Analytical Chemistry, University of Rostock, Dr.-Lorenz-Weg 2, 18059 Rostock, Germany
2
Bundeskriminalamt-Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Forensic Science Institute, Äppelallee 45, 65203 Wiesbaden, Germany
3
Joint Mass Spectrometry Centre, Comprehensive Molecular Analytics, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Ingolstädter Landstr. 1, 85764 Neuherberg, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 May 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 2 June 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Chemistry)
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Abstract

Fast and reliable information is crucial for first responders to draw correct conclusions at crime scenes. An ambient pressure laser desorption (APLD) mass spectrometer is introduced for this scenario, which enables detecting substances on surfaces without sample pretreatment. It is especially useful for substances with low vapor pressure and thermolabile ones. The APLD allows for the separation of desorption and ionization into two steps and, therefore, both can be optimized separately. Within this work, an improved version of the developed system is shown that achieves limits of detection (LOD) down to 500 pg while remaining fast and flexible. Furthermore, realistic scenarios are applied to prove the usability of this system in real-world issues. For this purpose, post-blast residues of a bomb from the Second World War were analyzed, and the presence of PETN was proven without sample pretreatment. In addition, the analyzable substance range could be expanded by various drugs and drug precursors. Thus, the presented instrumentation can be utilized for an increased number of forensically important compound classes without changing the setup. Drug precursors revealed a LOD ranging from 6 to 100 ng. Drugs such as cocaine hydrochloride, heroin, (3,4-methylendioxy-methamphetamine) hydrochloride (MDMA) hydrochloride, and others exhibit a LOD between 10 to 200 ng. View Full-Text
Keywords: APLD; drugs; explosives; post blast residue detection; mass spectrometry; chemical ionization; on-line measurement; forensic chemistry; mapping APLD; drugs; explosives; post blast residue detection; mass spectrometry; chemical ionization; on-line measurement; forensic chemistry; mapping
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Reiss, R.; Ehlert, S.; Heide, J.; Pütz, M.; Forster, T.; Zimmermann, R. Ambient Pressure Laser Desorption—Chemical Ionization Mass Spectrometry for Fast and Reliable Detection of Explosives, Drugs, and Their Precursors. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 933.

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