Benchtop NMR

NMR in Forensic Analysis

Customs and border control authorities are facing unprecedented challenges due to fraudulent activity across several sectors, ranging from narcotics, doping agents, global waste trade, chemical warfare agents and even explosives manufacturing.

Customs and border control authorities are facing unprecedented challenges due to fraudulent activity across several sectors, ranging from narcotics, doping agents, global waste trade, chemical warfare agents and even explosives manufacturing.

In the field of forensics, the chemical identification of unknown substances is an emerging challenge. Narcotics and other drugs are often unidentified, new psychoactive substances that require sophisticated analytical techniques such as NMR for identification.

The police, customs authorities, governmental and toxicology laboratories involved in forensic analysis require state-of-the-art scientific instruments for the unambiguous detection of suspicious materials that have been seized.

Determining the True Nature of Suspicious Substances

The ever-increasing emergence of new psychoactive substances (around 100 per year) has been identified as a key issue by forensic specialists.

These substances are uncontrolled, vary in dose and often have an unknown chemical structure. They require automated, unambiguous identification and quantification by techniques that are more sophisticated than commonly applied methods. Without this, the data cannot be used in court as conclusive evidence for legal proceedings. Only NMR is capable of discriminating all isomers unambiguously without the use of compound specific reference substances.

As the leading developer of analytical and diagnostic NMR solutions, Bruker serves many clients working in the police, customs, federal, state and border control laboratories across more than 40 countries, providing more than 80 high-performance NMR systems.  

AV400 nanobay Bruker’s portfolio includes two top-quality NMR instruments for application in forensics: the Fourier CrimeLab Benchtop NMR Spectrometer and the AVANCE NEO high-resolution spectrometer.

Distributed Laboratory Topology

A combination of Bruker’s High-resolution Avance NEO NMR spectrometers at central scientific centers and its Fourier CrimeLab benchtop NMR spectrometers at local governmental satellite laboratories introduces a new multi-level topology in the field of forensic analysis.

Bruker’s expert NMR software package TopSpin that accompanies both instrument lines frees NMR operators up to support any kind of analysis, even remotely. Additionally, novice NMR users can use customizable pre-defined data acquisition choices in the GoScan software on the Fourier CrimeLab.

This multi-level topology with nationally or internationally interlinked laboratories and harmonized methodologies provides a new platform for coherent data generation, reduced time-to-results and enhanced training synergies.

Determining the True Nature of Suspicious Substances

The Fourier CrimeLab can be used to obtain structural information about new psychoactive substances that determines the true nature of seized materials and generates reliable, robust evidence that can be used for legal proceedings. This is vital, as commonly used methods cannot identify and quantify unknown substances without compound specific reference standards available.

Dedicated software packages included within the Fourier CrimeLab can be used to build up and maintain a database on suspicious substances that can be shared and accessed for future identification.

In the fight against narcotics trafficking, Bruker fosters the global networking of law enforcement agencies and the international networks and programs that support using NMR solutions to identify and quantify illicit drugs. In addition to in-house libraries, forensic drug laboratories can take advantage of the NPS Data Hub - an independent, non-commercial narcotics data sharing platform for law enforcement authorities.  

This interactive data hub is being developed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in collaboration with forensic laboratory partners at the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (Bundeskriminalamt; BKA) and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Convenient, Benchtop Tool for Accurate NMR Forensic Analysis

The Fourier CrimeLab serves as a compact, cost-efficient, accessible and everyday tool for quickly obtaining the most accurate NMR data in forensics applications. This benchtop spectrometer can easily be installed in the fume hood or on the bench, without needing any additional infrastructure, making it easy to maintain and reducing ownership costs.

With straightforward operation and intuitive software, Fourier CrimeLab enables scientists to get the definitive answers NMR provides, even if they are not NMR experts.

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Application Notes


Analyzing Post-Mortem Changes of Metabolites by NMR

Forensic science is a key tool in courts of law; it provides scientific evidence that can be crucial in achieving a conviction or acquittal. The evidence it can provide includes fingerprint identification, DNA profiling, blood stain pattern analysis, and time of death or the post-mortem interval (PMI).

Use of an “Intrinsic” Internal Standard to Quantitate CBD in Hemp Seed Samples

Hemp is a non-psychoactive form of the Cannabis sativa L. plant that is used for a wide range of applications and whose chemical composition is therefore of ongoing interest. Hemp seeds, in particular, are used as both a food and pharmaceutical source, with a nutritional profile thought to offer several health benefits. This has resulted in a growing demand for rapid and reliable analytical methods for characterizing the compounds found in hemp seed products.

Extracting High-value Products from Hemp Waste

Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is cultivated for its fiber (bast fiber) and its edible seeds as well as some medicinal products [1]. When bast fibers are separated from the hemp stem, what’s left is called hemp hurds. These woody residues are the least valuable part of the hemp stem and are treated as a by-product of fiber production, even though they represent the largest fraction of the hemp plant.

An Integrated Approach to Identifying New Psychoactive Substances

The emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS), or designer drugs, is a continuing issue for drug enforcement agencies. These drugs are designed to mimic the effects of controlled substances but circumvent controlled substances legislation with a slightly modified novel chemical structure.

Using Orthogonal Methods for Rapid Narcotics Analysis

The detection of illegal drugs is a constant battle for law enforcement authorities worldwide. Key challenges in narcotics analysis include unambiguous identification and proper quantification of suspicious substances. Data generated must also be robust enough for submission in legal proceedings.
NMR Helps Tackle Scourge of New Psychoactive Substances

NMR Helps Tackle Scourge of New Psychoactive Substances

Like many countries, Germany has had to contend with the rise of designer drugs or new psychoactive substances (NPS) since the emergence of ‘Spice’ in 2008. The suppliers of these drugs exploit loopholes in the law that mean that newly emerging compounds that have not yet been identified and scheduled by the authorities are not illegal.