Forensic Drug Analysis

Drug analysis is as multifaceted as the range of illegal drugs that flood the market each year. Our goal is to provide reliable and fast methods for the unambiguous determination of illegal substances inside and outside the body.

Screening of Illegal Substances/ Designer Drugs/ Counterfeit Drugs

Unambiguous detection and identification of drugs and related compounds in solids, powders and liquids is a key area of forensic investigation and drug screening. Analytical approaches need to be accurate, detect drugs and other toxins at low levels in small samples, and provide results quickly.​

Bruker drug screening tools provide reliable analytical solutions for positive identification of illicit and other drugs for criminal forensic investigations, sports doping, and harm reduction in illicit drug use.​

Doping and Drug Abuse Testing in Body Fluids

The screening for drugs of abuse in human, equine and canine urine, saliva and other body fluids is a key application in many governmental and non-governmental laboratories.

Rapid, unambiguous detection and identification of drugs and related compounds in numerous samples are essential prerequisites for forensic drug screening. Since positive samples returns can have severe consequences for the tested person/animal, it is of utmost importance to acquire reliable data.

  • Offers precise target compound identification and quantification
  • Confidence on a sub-ppm level for the confirmation of target compounds
  • Very high selectivity and mulit-target screening with high resolution EICs
  • Allows retrospective screening of the data should new drugs enter the ‘banned list’
  • Powerful workflows for totally unknown and untargeted compounds and metabolites ensuring ‘new or designer’ drugs are detected

Detection of Synthetic Urine in Sports Doping Tests ​

With the increase in scrutiny over the use of doping for performance enhancement in sport, so have efforts to find new ways to avoid detection. One such method is the use of synthetic urine for submission to random and regular drug tests. Containing metabolites, creatine, urea and uric acid, the synthetic urine products are difficult to distinguish from natural samples.​

Bruker's S2 PICOFOX Total Reflection XRF (TXRF) instrument provides an innovative solution for rapid, high-precision elemental analysis of liquids, allowing qualitative comparison of natural and synthetic urine, or fully quantitative analysis of select key element discriminators. ​

Fighting the Epidemic of Counterfeit Medicines with Bruker Solutions

Counterfeited drugs are falsified products that are deliberately mislabeled in terms of identity, efficacy, safety and/or origin with malicious intent. Counterfeiting is not limited to brand-name drugs, but is also widespread for generic drugs. Forged drugs pose a serious risk to public health, as they may contain products that:

  • have no active ingredient at all
  • contain the correct API, but in insufficient quantity
  • contain an active substance other than the one specified,
  • contain unneccessary or even toxic substances

Harm Reduction and Prevention of Drug-related Deaths by IR

Across the globe legal authorities are changing their approach in the war against drugs. In multiple studies, harm prevention efforts have shown a decrease in drug related deaths and increase in safety on festivals were illegal drugs circulate freely.

Around the world, FT-IR spectroscopy is used in pharmacies, on festivals, huge parties and raves to check drugs for their identity. Often it is revealed that the purchased substance is in fact a life threatening substitute like household cleaner. 

The Canadian Drug Policy Coalition brings all the facts straight to the point with a simple statement: "Harm Reduction is a comprehensive, just and science-based approach to substance use. It represents policies, strategies and services, which aim to assist people who use legal and illegal psychoactive drugs to live safer and healthier lives. "

Watch how the ALPHA II FT-IR is used in festival season to reduce harm and prevent overdosing.

Identification of Unknown Illegal Substances by FT-IR Spectroscopy

Infrared spectroscopy quickly and reliably identifies legal and illegal substances in-house or on the road. It is ideal for law enforcement, security and safety organizations tos save time and money by conducting their own analysis. 

  • Unambiguous identification (solid, liquid, paste ...)
  • no sample preparation, no solvents, no consumeables
  • Dedicated TICTAC Communications Ltd Drug Database
  • Rapid analysis & non-destructive


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.

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.

PMI of Illicit Substances with XRD

Illicit substances often come in the form of fine white powders. Difficult to tell from one another and from common household items like powdered sugar. X-ray Diffraction is used by enforcement services around the globe to quickly and unambiguously identify these materials.

The benchtop D2 PHASER XRD solution is deployed at many lab and field sites around the world for the positive material identification (PMI) of illicit substances. Thank you to Cantonal Police St. Gallen (CH); Forensic Center of Competence; Dr. Frank Gfeller for samples and analysis.

Other Bruker Solutions for Criminal Forensic Analysis​

Portable XRF
Bruker's TITAN and CTX XRF solutions for elemental analysis from Mg to U of solids and liquids in a fully mobile format. Used for rapid for identification of materials, or for fully quantitative compositional analysis.​

The field transportable S2 PICOFOX and lab-based S4 T-STAR total reflection XRF spectrometers for elemental analysis of liquids and solids down to sub-ppb detection limits without the need for complex lab infrastructure. ​

FT-IR and Raman spectroscopy
We offer a selection of compact and powerful spectrometers for on-site and laboratory analysis, providing fast and reliable chemical analysis of evidence.

FT-IR and Raman microscopy
asd For micro chemical analysis we offer a comprehensive portfolio of Raman and Infrared microscopes that are perfectly suited to analyze smallest traces as well as brittle or sensitive evidence