Methamphetamine and Amphetamine: Illicit Drugs with a Problem, but Nothing GC and SPE can’t Fix

We are in a bit of a time crunch at the moment.  I have been performing my research in all my free time in order to finish within the next couple of weeks.  I need to complete my data and construct a poster prior to the National American Chemical Society (ACS) Conference in Dallas, Texas the week of spring break.  I will be presenting a poster presentation for 2 hours.  I am both really excited and nervous at the same time.  My first time presenting and it will be at a national conference.

Now to the good stuff.  We have started this semester off right considering I had no data at the end of the fall semester.  Instead of using the LC (Liquid Chromatography) instrument we have decided to use the GC (Gas Chromatography).  We have obtained stock solution of methamphetamine and amphetamine and started making different dilutions to determine the minimal amount of these illicit drugs that could be detected.  We quickly figured out that the concentrations of the dilutions were too small at varying volumes and instead we tried different volumes from the stock solutions of methamphetamine and amphetamine.  Using 1 µL of these solutions proved successful and we are now ready to begin the bulk of our research.

We tried each drug separately to determine if the instrument could confirm these solutions, and then mixed the two together to verify if the GC instrument could detect the combination of drugs.  Each run was a success, and now we are ready to utilize the SPE (solid phase extraction) instrument.  I have made the solutions and took inventory of the reagents needed to perform multiple trials on the instrument.  On Thursday (2/20/14), I will be running the SPE to determine which sorbent has the best retention volume of methamphetamine and amphetamine.  After the SPE is run we need to utilize the GC once more to verify the amount of illicit drugs present in the sample.

I have been enjoying my time with my mentor, Elmer Mojica, and my fellow researchers in the labs.  I cannot wait to travel to Texas to present my research and gain experience in the world of Chemistry.

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