Volume 47, Issue 5 (September 2002)
Trace Elemental Analysis of Drugs of Abuse Using Synchrotron Radiation Total Reflection X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis (SR-TXRF)
Synchrotron radiation total reflection X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (SR-TXRF) was utilized to analyze various trace elements in small amounts of drugs of abuse. Sample amounts of 1 L solutions containing 10 g of drugs (methamphetamine, amphetamine, 3,4-methylene-dioxymethamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin) were spotted on silicon wafers for direct analysis. In addition, a leaflet of marijuana was set directly on a silicon wafer, and opium in the form of a soft lump was smeared on another silicon wafer for analysis. In these experiments, about 10 pg of contaminant elements could be detected. For example, in a seized methamphetamine sample, iodine was found, which could be indicative of syn-thetic route. In seized 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine samples, variable amounts of phosphorus, calcium, sulfur, and potassium were found, which could not be detected in a control 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine sample. For marijuana and opium, two spectral patterns were ob-tained that were far different from each other and could be easily discriminated. Using SR-TXRF, pg amounts of each trace element in 10 g of var-ious drugs can be easily detected, which is not the case either for a standard TXRF experimental system or for other elemental analysis techniques.