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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 22 (2017) pp 197-200

Forensic Analysis in the Instrumental Laboratory: A Nondestructive Ultrasound-enhanced Aqueous Extraction Coupled With GC-MS Analysis of Cocaine on US Banknotes

Yiwei Deng*,†, Aaron Zhang, Justin Kandah, Steven Akinsand Khadija Jawad

Department of Natural Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Dearborn, MI 48128,; Department of Chemistry, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907
Received June 19, 2017. Accepted October 23, 2017.

Published: 4 Devember 2017

Abstract. This experimental exercise with forensic application was developed for an advance undergraduate analytical chemistry course. A simple, nondestructive ultrasound-enhanced aqueous extraction coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was modified and adopted for the determination of cocaine on US banknotes. The students were asked to randomly collect paper currency from the Metro Detroit area and utilized the method to identify and quantify cocaine on paper currency collected. The samples were initially extracted with water. Cocaine in the aqueous phase was further extracted by hexane. A GC-MS was used for identification and quantitation. Cocaine was detected in 67% of the banknotes collected from general circulation. The lab exercise introduces a forensic theme using basic analytical chemistry skills and modern instrumentation. It also engages students in problem–solving and cooperative learning.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; analytical chemistry

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (205 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Instructions for instructors and students, as well as procedural details and instrumental settings are provided in laboratory documentation available in this issue of Chemical Educator Online. (221 KB)

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