Raman Techniques in Emergency HazMat ResponseLisa Malette
Raman Techniques in Emergency HazMat Response
Wednesday, October 17, 11:00 AM ET – 12:00 PM ET
(11:00am EDT / 8:00am PDT / 3:00pm GMT)
Duration: 1 hour
Speaker: Dr. Matthew Smith
Sponsored by Agilent Technologies
This webinar describes the use of spectroscopic techniques in emergency hazmat scenarios, with a focus on novel SORS (Spatial Offset RAMAN) and SERS (Surface Enhanced RAMAN) applications for unknown chemical and narcotic identification.
Detailed Learning Objectives:
-Understand how Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS), and other spectroscopic techniques can be utilized in-field for HazMat incidents
-Understand the unique capability that Surface Enhanced Raman (SERS) provides for identifying opioids at ultra-low detection limits
-Identify future targets for SORS and SERS technology in the HazMat field
The capability for accurate, rapid detection of highly toxic materials at HAZMAT (hazardous material) incidents is an increasingly important requirement for emergency response personnel. The range and potency of toxic materials to which first responders are often exposed is ever increasing, so detection and identification while minimising exposure is of critical importance. Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) can be used to obtain information from materials concealed behind opaque barriers. This technique can therefore reduce the risk of exposure to operators in some scenarios.
A current example receiving significant exposure in the media and law enforcement fields are the fentanyl’s. This range of synthetic opioid compounds possess extreme potency and toxicity, some with LD50 <<< 2.0mg, meaning they pose an especially significant risk to personnel, and may require additional precautions not needed for other HAZMAT incidents. This potency can also result in analytical challenges – street samples usually only contain very low concentrations of the active ingredient (i.e. enough for a “hit”), which makes identification much more difficult than drugs such as cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine. Current portable analytical instruments used for this purpose rely on Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) or surface Raman (FTR), but require relatively pure samples for accurate results. Unfortunately, if only trace quantities are present, or if the fentanyl is mixed with cutting agents or other drugs, these techniques do not currently possess adequate detection limits or selectivity/sensitivity for positive identification (i.e. no presumptive detection capability).
Rather than sending samples away to a laboratory, or purchasing new and expensive equipment, adapting current analytical instruments to improve detection limits without a need for costly modifications is far more cost-effective, and indeed is an on-going requirement in many departments. This is possible with some Raman instruments, where simple modifications to sample preparation can achieve significant improvements. A well-known technique which can greatly improve detection limits is called ‘Surface-enhanced Raman Spectroscopy’ or SERS. This enhances sensitivity by adsorbing target molecules onto the surface of gold or silver nanoparticles. Previous work to date in this area has required laboratory-based instrumentation and/or complex and expensive sample preparation processes.
The current project avoids this by using the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) operational Raman unit – the Agilent Resolve™ Spatially Offset Raman Spectrometer (SORS), for the trace detection of solution-based fentanyl hydrochloride via SERS technique. Additional objectives include:
-Identify the limits of detection for pure fentanyl, and develop the capability to quantitatively analyze samples (i.e. determine concentrations) in the field
-Determine if “cutting” agents impair the SERS process
-Identify if the technique can be applied to fentanyl analogues
-Determine if other highly toxic hazardous compounds can be detected using this technique (e.g. abrin, ricin), and adapt the current methodology, if possible
For Forensic Use.
Price: Funding for this course has been provided by Agilent Technologies
Course Type: On-Demand Presentation
Length: Approximately 60 minutes
Audience: Forensic Practitioners
Course Accreditation: Certificate of Attendance