Application of SERS spectroscopy to the identification of (3,4-methylenedioxy)amphetamine in forensic samples utilizing matrix stabilized silver halides
A method based on surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) spectroscopy was developed to meet the need for the reliable and rapid identification of illicit drugs such as the ‘designer drug’ XTC, preferably to increase the security of legal certificates. A matrix stabilized silver halide dispersion on a microtiter plate is used as the SERS-active substrate, providing an easy to use system for sample preparation and probing by means of a Raman microscope. The potential of the method is demonstrated by applying it to the identification of the psychoactive ingredients of drug containing tablets which were confiscated by the local police at techno-music events. The samples of interest were 26 different brands of XTC tablets and several pieces of evidence (powders) containing amphetamine. For reference, we show SERS and Raman spectra of pristine amphetamine, methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxyamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and 3,4-methylenedioxyethamphetamine.