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Title: Chemical Attribution of Fentanyl Using Multivariate Statistical Analysis of Orthogonal Mass Spectral Data

Attribution of the origin of an illicit drug relies on identification of compounds indicative of its clandestine production and is a key component of many modern forensic investigations. Here, the results of these studies can yield detailed information on method of manufacture, starting material source, and final product, all critical forensic evidence. In the present work, chemical attribution signatures (CAS) associated with the synthesis of the analgesic fentanyl, N-(1-phenylethylpiperidin-4-yl)-N-phenylpropanamide, were investigated. Six synthesis methods, all previously published fentanyl synthetic routes or hybrid versions thereof, were studied in an effort to identify and classify route-specific signatures. A total of 160 distinct compounds and inorganic species were identified using gas and liquid chromatographies combined with mass spectrometric methods (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) and liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry-time of-flight (LC–MS/MS-TOF)) in conjunction with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). The complexity of the resultant data matrix urged the use of multivariate statistical analysis. Using partial least-squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), 87 route-specific CAS were classified and a statistical model capable of predicting the method of fentanyl synthesis was validated and tested against CAS profiles from crude fentanyl products deposited and later extracted from two operationally relevant surfaces: stainless steel and vinyl tile. Finally, this workmore » provides the most detailed fentanyl CAS investigation to date by using orthogonal mass spectral data to identify CAS of forensic significance for illicit drug detection, profiling, and attribution.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Forensic Science Center
  2. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States). Materials Science Division
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0003-2700
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Analytical Chemistry
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 88; Journal Issue: 8; Journal ID: ISSN 0003-2700
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: