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Fast Heroin and Cocaine Analysis by GC–MS with Cold EI: The Important Role of Flow Programming

Amirav, Aviv
Chromatographia 2017 v.80 no.2 pp. 295-300
cocaine, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, heroin, ingredients, ions, ovens, temperature
A fast GC–MS method was developed based on the use of GC–MS with Cold EI. This new method was applied for the analysis of the street drugs heroin and cocaine and it enabled 2 min chromatography time and 3 min full analysis cycle time. GC–MS with cold EI provides mass spectra with enhanced molecular ions that are library compatible (with increased identification probabilities) and allows the use of short, 5 m 0.25 mm ID columns, which facilitates fast GC–MS. A central ingredient of our unique cold EI-based fast GC–MS analysis method is the use of column flow programming from 1 up to 32 ml min⁻¹ column flow rate. Column flow programming can reduce the analysis time by about a factor of two and unlike temperature programs of GC ovens the carrier gas flow rate can be raised and lowered very quickly (in a few seconds). The fast GC–MS with Cold EI method is demonstrated by the analysis of heroin in its street drug powder and cocaine on paper money and it can be applied for other drugs of abuse as a general fast drugs analysis method.