E24: Applications of Portable Spectroscopy in Pharma, Forensics and Law Enforcement

One-Day Course
Date to be Announce; 8:30am – 5:00pm

Dr. Richard Crocombe, Crocombe Spectroscopic Consulting, Winchester, MA
Dr. Pauline Leary, NOBLE, Stevensville, MD

Portable spectrometers (Raman, mid-infrared, near-infrared, MS, GC-MS, etc.) are now widely used in a variety of industries and applications.  This course surveys their applications, with a special focus on pharmaceutical manufacturing, quality and counterfeit detection, and narcotics and street drug detection and analysis in the field, especially for fentanyl and its analogs.  The latest advances in portable spectrometers will also be covered, including 1064-nm excitation and surface-enhanced techniques in Raman (SERS), and sampling techniques in portable MS and GC-MS. Applications of portable XRF and LIBS will also be briefly described. There will be an opportunity for some hands-on work.

Personnel using, or considering using, portable spectrometers in: pharmaceutical manufacturing, QAQC and counterfeit detection; forensic science, law enforcement, first response, community drug screening, hazardous materials, etc.


Note: all sections include demonstrations and ‘hands-on’ opportunities

  1. Background and History for Portable Spectrometers
    a. Sampling Techniques
  2. Generating Results from Spectra: Libraries, Databases and Algorithms
    a. Pharmaceutical Applications
    b. Illicit Drugs
  3. Pharmaceutical Applications
    a. Raw material identification
    b. QA/QC
    c. Counterfeit detection
  4. Illicit Drugs
    a. Field Analysis – detection and forensics
    b. Clandestine laboratories
    c. Community drug safety
    d. Fentanyl and its analogs
  5. Recent Advances in Instrumentation and Applications
  6. References and Further Reading

Dr. Richard Crocombe Principal at Crocombe Spectroscopic Consulting.  He works with both emerging and established instrument companies, as well as users of these instruments, on miniature optical technologies, handheld/portable spectrometers, go-to-market strategies, and their emerging applications.  He is a former President (2020) of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS), and is currently Editor-in-Chief of SAS’s new journal, Applied Spectroscopy Practica. He is chair of the SPIE conference ‘Next-Generation Spectroscopic Technologies’, and an SPIE Fellow..

Dr. Pauline Leary is a subject matter expert, specializing in training law enforcement and military personnel, in the use of portable instruments.  Prior to that she was a Technical Solutions Engineer for Smiths Detection, Inc., working with military, emergency-response, transportation and critical-infrastructure customers to help them develop solutions to the problems they are experiencing with detecting, identifying and quantifying dangerous substances and other contraband in the field.  Prior to joining Smiths in 2005, Pauline worked as scientist performing physical testing within the R&D division of Purdue Pharma, LP.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marist College, a Master of Science degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  She works closely with Prof. Brooke Kammrath (University of New Haven and the Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science).

Drs. Crocombe and Leary, along with Prof. Brooke Kammrath, are the editors of a two-volume book on Portable Spectroscopy and Spectrometry, published in April 2021 by John Wiley, comprising over 40 chapters written by experts in their respective fields.  Other recent joint publications include “Field Portable Detection of Fentanyl and its Analogs: A Review”, J. Forensic Sci. 2023; 68: 1570–1600; and “Detection and analysis of counterfeit drugs”, Chapter 6 in Trends in Counterfeit Drugs, edited by Kelly M. Elkins, Routledge/Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, 2023.