Nanomaterials have gained much attention over the last decade in the development of sensors for a myriad of applications. Within BorderSens, the applicability of carbon-based nanomaterials has been identified as highly suitable for the detection of illicit drugs.
In a paper prepared by researchers from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy Iuliu Hatieganu Cluj-Napoca and the University of Antwerp, and recently published in Frontiers in Chemistry (available here), the suitability of various nanoplatforms, such as graphene, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, gold nanoparticles and platinum nanoparticles for the electrochemical detection of illicit drugs (cocaine, MDMA, MMC, and PVP, as single analytes and mixed with common adulterants) has been assessed.
As a result, this extensive study determined the optimized platforms and experimental conditions to assess some molecules of illicit drugs. In any case, further studies are necessary to assess the presence of illicit drugs in tertiary/quaternary mixtures via multivariate analysis and to evaluate real street samples for the development of an integrated sensing device.