Scientists Develop Breathalyzer for Cocaine That Can Easily Detect Dangerous Drug

May 11, 2018 7:02 am Last Updated: May 11, 2018 7:02 am

Police use breathalyzer tests for alcohol to great effect, but detecting whether a suspect is under the influence of drugs has been far more difficult–until now.

Researchers from the University at Buffalo, New York, and Fudan University in China have developed a low-cost chip that can reportedly detect the presence of cocaine in only a few minutes.

“The high-performance chip we designed was able to detect cocaine within minutes in our experiments,” said Dr. Qiaogiang Gan, according to the Mirror.

In the event that biological or chemical molecules land on the chip’s surface, part of this captured light interacts with the new molecules and is “scattered” in recognizable patterns, which can reveal which compound is present.

In addition to cocaine, the surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) technology could be used to look for opioids and the active ingredients in marijuana.