Smart identification of all common narcotics

Drug trafficking and drug use are a constant challenge for the security authorities. They pose a risk to society in general and to the health of those affected in particular. Fast and reliable ways of recognising narcotics (BtM) directly on site and thus better assessing situations are necessary. The constant change in this "market" and the continuous emergence of new narcotics also demand a high degree of flexibility. There is an urgent need for a device that reliably identifies narcotics as soon as the substance is found in the presence of the owner. In the case of conventional BtM such as heroin, cocaine, MDMA etc., this is achieved by the colour tests commonly used to date. However, their use is not sustainable. As the colour tests are consumable materials, they generate a lot of waste. From both an ecological and economic point of view, it therefore makes sense to use other options for detecting narcotics.

Robust NIR spectroscopy identifies substance and purity

BtM has been analysed in laboratories for years using near-infrared (NIR) technology. The miniaturisation of NIR detectors and the automated evaluation of complex NIR spectra have enabled the development of small, hand-held NIR spectrometers such as the NIRLab. The corresponding spectrum databases contain more than 15,000 spectra. This latest generation of devices can therefore recognise countless variations and mixtures of anaesthetics. The majority (> 95 %) of the narcotics found can be identified and quantified directly on site. Previously, it was only possible to determine the content in the laboratory. As penalties and other measures depend heavily on the purity of the prohibited substance, determining the concentration offers a major advantage that colour tests cannot provide.

The small, handy NIRLab reliably identifies the identity and content of a BtM directly at the point of use. It can also distinguish between THC and the CBD used in medical products. This is extremely advantageous when detecting cannabis.


Advantages of the MicroNIR OnSite-W with NIRLab

  • Precise quantification.
  • Small, light, robust (IP67).
  • Non-destructive analysis.
  • User-friendly operation (one button).
  • Fast measurement (about 5 seconds).
  • More than 15,000 reference measurements.
  • Over 200 different blends.
  • Supporting web interface.
  • DSGVO compliant.
  • Report generation possible.

Quantification on site – a new dimension in law enforcement

The ability to determine (quantify) the BtM content opens up new possibilities. BtM offences involving small quantities can be greatly accelerated. This reduces the workload and frees up laboratory capacity for other processes.

Law enforcement reacts more quickly when results are immediately available. In addition, the actual conditions can be recorded immediately when analyses are carried out directly on site. Up to now, drying and evaporation processes have not been taken into account during the time lag to the laboratory analysis. However, these processes can significantly reduce the weight of the sample, which can lead to large weight discrepancies as well as concentration deviations. The comparison between on-site results and laboratory results documents evaporation in a comprehensible manner. This is why quantifying analysis on site is an ideal complement to subsequent laboratory analyses.

The NIRLab averages inhomogeneous samples, as is very often the case with anaesthetics. It calculates the average content of several measurements at different measuring points. The contents of the individual measurements are also listed.

Narcotics – a very volatile "market"

To meet the challenge of constantly changing narcotics, the company NIRLab Forensics has opted for a server solution. In cooperation with the Forensic Institute in Lausanne, a very extensive database was developed as a first step. It contains many thousands of spectra in order to cover as many variants, mixtures and street drugs as possible. The database is installed on a server with which the NIRLab spectrometer communicates continuously via Bluetooth using a smart device. The smart device is a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or similar with internet access. The spectra recorded with the NIRLab are analysed online via a secure connection. The database is continuously being improved and expanded. It also includes substances that have only recently come onto the market. All users of the devices benefit directly from the database expansions. Updates are not necessary, they are carried out continuously.

Extremely easy handling

The NIRLAB has just one button for particularly easy handling. It switches the device on and off, connects to the smart device via Bluetooth and starts the measurement. The device is simply positioned on the transparent packaging of the potential BtM, the measurement is triggered and the result is read on the smart device. Very quick and particularly easy!

Technical details
Measuring principle Non-destructive analysis with NIR spectroscopy
Dispersive element Linear Variable Filter (LVF)
Detector 128 pixel InGaAs photodiode array
Weight 250 g
Size Diameter 47 mm, 194 mm length
Light source 2 integrated tungsten NIR lamps with > 40,000 h lifetime
Spektralbereich 950 nm – 1.650 nm (= 10.526 cm-1 – 6060 cm-1)
Resolution approx. 1.25 % (FWHM)
Dynamic Range 1,000 : 1 maximum
Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) 1 : 23,000
Measuring distance 0 – 15 mm
Operation Spectrometer Button and NIRLab app
Power supply Li-ion battery, > 10 h operating time
Environmental temperature - 20°C bis + 40 °C (non-condensing)
Protection class, robustness IP67 dust and splash water protection, MIL-PRF-28800F Class 2
Connectivity, data formats BlueTooth, GPS via SmartDevice
Manufacturer Hardware Viavi Solutions Inc., USA
Manufacturer NIRLAB Forensics GmbH, Switzerland

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