• Gas chromatography allows ultra-sensitive drug detection
    An innovative drug detection method using gas chromatography has been devised at Derby University

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Gas chromatography allows ultra-sensitive drug detection

May 07 2010

A student at Derby University has developed an ultra-sensitive means of drug detection in phone boxes using gas chromatography.

Sonica Devi is studying forensic science at the academic institution and decided to investigate the possibility of applying gas chromatography-mass spectrometry to drug detection at microscopic levels.

Her report, Real world detection of cocaine at the picogram (one trillionth of a gram) level in an urban environment, is now touring forensics conferences across the UK.

"I had no idea what I would find through this study as no trace of drugs could be seen in the phone booths with the naked eye," says Ms Devi.

However, she was able to find trace amounts of cocaine that would have been missed by conventional police testing procedures.

Derby University uses hands-on teaching methods to coach its students of forensic science as part of a course recognised by the Royal Society of Chemistry and accredited by the Forensic Science Society.

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