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J Forensic Sci. 2013 Nov;58(6):1607-14. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.12213. Epub 2013 Jul 3.

Raman spectroscopy as a simple, rapid, nondestructive screening test for methamphetamine in clandestine laboratory liquids.

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  • 1Kentucky State Police Central Forensic Laboratory, 100 Sower Blvd., Suite 102, Frankfort, KY, 40601.


Raman spectroscopy has found increased use in the forensic controlled substances laboratory in recent years due to its rapid and nondestructive analysis capabilities. Here, Raman spectroscopy as a screening test for methamphetamine in clandestine laboratory liquid samples is discussed as a way to improve the efficiency of a laboratory by identifying the most probative samples for further workup among multiple samples submitted for analysis. Solutions of methamphetamine in ethanol, diethyl ether, and Coleman fuel were prepared in concentrations ranging from 0.5% to 10% w/v, and Raman spectra of each were collected. A concentration-dependent Raman peak was observed at 1003 per cm in each solution in 4% w/v and greater solutions. Case samples were analyzed and also found to reliably contain this diagnostic peak when methamphetamine was present. The use of this diagnostic indicator can save the forensic controlled substances laboratory time and materials when analyzing clandestine laboratory liquid submissions.

© 2013 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.


Raman spectroscopy; clandestine laboratory; controlled substances; forensic science; methamphetamine; screening test

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