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Open AccessArticle

Application of a Microfluidic Gas-to-Liquid Interface for Extraction of Target Amphetamines and Precursors from Air Samples

1
School of Science, Western Sydney University, Penrith 2751, Australia
2
CSIRO Manufacturing, Clayton VIC 3168, Australia
3
Département de chimie, biochimie et physique, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 3351 boul. des Forges, Trois-Rivières, QC G8Z 4M3, Canada
4
Centre for Forensic Science, University of Technology Sydney, PO Box 123, Broadway NSW 2007, Australia
5
CSIRO Health and Biosecurity, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2020, 11(3), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi11030315
Received: 20 February 2020 / Revised: 10 March 2020 / Accepted: 14 March 2020 / Published: 17 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section C:Chemistry)
The investigation of clandestine laboratories poses serious hazards for first responders, emergency services, investigators and the surrounding public due to the risk of exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) used in the manufacture of illicit substances. A novel gas sampling interface using open microfluidic channels that enables the extraction of VOCs out of the gas phase and into a liquid, where it can be analysed by conventional detection systems, has recently been developed. This paper investigates the efficiency and effectiveness of such a gas-to-liquid (GTL) extraction system for the extraction of amphetamine-type substances (ATS) and their precursors from the vapour phase. The GTL interface was evaluated across a range of different ATS and their precursors (methamphetamine, dimethylamphetamine, N-formylmethamphetamine, benzaldehyde, phenyl-2-propanone, ephedrine and pseudoephedrine) at concentrations ranging between 10 and 32 mg m−3. These gas samples were produced by a gas generation system directly in Tedlar® bags and gas canisters for controlled volume sampling. When using gas sampled from Tedlar® bags, four of the seven compounds were able to be extracted by the GTL interface, with the majority of the VOCs having extraction yields between 0.005% and 4.5%, in line with the results from an initial study. When samples were taken from gas canisters, only benzaldehyde was able to be detected, with extraction efficiencies between 0.2% and 0.4%. A custom-built mount for the GTL interface helped to automate the extraction process, with the aim of increasing extraction efficiency or reducing variability. However, the extraction efficiency did not improve when using this accessory, but the procedure did become more efficient. The results from the study indicated that the GTL interface could be employed for the collection of gaseous ATS and incorporated into mobile detection systems for onsite collection and analysis of volatile compounds related to ATS manufacture. View Full-Text
Keywords: gas-to-liquid extraction; amphetamine; VOC; microfluidic; drug screening gas-to-liquid extraction; amphetamine; VOC; microfluidic; drug screening
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Collins, M.; Gel, M.; Lennard, C.; Spikmans, V.; Forbes, S.; Anderson, A. Application of a Microfluidic Gas-to-Liquid Interface for Extraction of Target Amphetamines and Precursors from Air Samples. Micromachines 2020, 11, 315.

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