In the last decades, the abuse of drugs has dramatically increased, becoming a serious social problem worldwide. As a consequence, drug screening technology has improved greatly, in order to provide better and faster analytical solution.
In this field of application, conventional gas chromatography coupled to quadrupole mass spectrometry (GC-qMS) represents an effective procedure for the analysis of drugs both in biological and non-biological matrices. In particular, GC-qMS is the most widely used technique in forensic toxicology laboratory for the confirmation of positive tests and specific identification/quantification, since it offers the required sensitivity and selectivity. These methods generally require at least 20-30 minutes for the chromatographic separation.
A new approach is investigated, based on the application of fast gas chromatography coupled to time of flight mass spectrometry. Fast GC, typically involving 0.1 mm id and 10 m length column, could represents a powerful alternative to conventional GC allowing to achieve equivalent resolution in a significantly shorter analysis time. Moreover, the benefits of Fast GC are fully exploited by the potential of High Speed TOF-MS technology: the acquisition rate can be increased without sacrificing the selected mass range or losing spectral information. Very hugh quality library matching are therefore achieved for real samples analysis for reliable ID confirmation. In addition, higher acquisition rates enable a more effective application of the deconvolution procedure, in case of co-elution and complex matrix interferences.