Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Forensic use of tandem mass-spectroscopy detects links between banknotes and drugs

01.07.2005


Research published in this month’s edition of the journal Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, describes a method that can detect a pattern of contamination on banknotes from drug related crime that is different from the pattern seen in general circulation. The process is significantly faster than other previous methods.



“People involved in drug-trafficking are not always involved in handling illicit drugs, but they may possess cash that has been held by others who come into contact with drugs, so finding traces of drugs on an unusually high proportion of bank notes is another piece of evidence that could help guide a police investigation, or be used in court,” says co-author Karl Ebejer.

Work by the same group has shown that traces of cocaine may be found on a majority of banknotes. In the present study Ebejer and his team looked for the chemical diacetylmorphine (DAM), which was found to be present on around 1 in 50 notes. DAM is the major active component of illicit heroin and the most characteristic marker for that drug.


Mass spectrometry determines the chemical nature of a compound even if there is only a minute sample. In Ebejer’s process, banknotes recovered during police raids were heated to 285 oC causing chemicals to vaporise. The vapours were sucked into the detector and the chemicals smashed into fragments. One of the features of mass spectrometry is that each chemical reliably produces a unique set of fragments. The detector then looked for two particular fragments.

Finding both of these on a bank note showed that the note was contaminated with DAM. Finding lots of contaminated bank notes in a bundle indicates that the money had recently been in contact with heroin and is, therefore, unlikely to have come from general circulation.

“The association doesn’t prove guilt, but cries out for an explanation,” says Ebejer. “If a defendant can offer no reasonable explanation as to why they possess a large quantity of cash, and why this cash is highly contaminated with heroin a jury must draw its own conclusions.”

Julia Lampam | alfa
Further information:
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/rcm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>