Date of Submission


Document Type



Forensic Science


Brooke Kammrath, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Koby Kizzire, Ph.D


Gas Chromatography-mass Spectrometry, Fentanyl, Fentanyl Analog Library, Portable Instrumentation


Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry, Fentanyl


Gas chromatography, Fentanyl


The opioid epidemic is a growing global concern. In 2021, the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded preliminary data stating that there were 93,331 deaths because of drug overdoses. Of those deaths, over 69,000 were attributed to opioids. An opioid of particular concern is fentanyl, which is 50 - 100 times more potent than morphine and has multiple analogs of variable potencies. In street samples it is primarily linked to illegally made fentanyl. To combat this growing crisis, suitable instrumentation that can be successfully deployed at the sample site is necessary. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is commonly used in forensic science laboratories to provide confirmatory identification of drugs providing a highly specific result. For this reason, its potential value for the identification of various fentanyl analogs is significant. In this research, a portable GC-MS system, one with an ion trap mass analyzer, was evaluated to establish its abilities to detect a selection of fentanyl analogs. The GC-MS system was used to analyze Cayman Chemical’s fentanyl analog screening kits, which contain 250 synthetic drug samples and of those 210 are fentanyl analogs. The results were evaluated to determine the identification capability for the portable GC-MS system. After this evaluation, a new library was created based on the data from the ion trap GC-MS to better identify the fentanyl analogs using this type of instrumentation. This GC-MS library was tested for its ability to identify different fentanyls with similar retention times both on its own and in mixtures of varying concentrations.