Posted in | Materials Analysis

Field Forensics Launches microTLC Portable Analyzer for Drugs and Explosives

Field Forensics announces the availability of microTLC™, a portable, fast and easy to use solution for rapid pre-screening and presumptive identification of drugs and explosive mixtures.

In addition to achieving package miniaturization using only one thin layer chromatography (TLC) plate, the microTLC has other innovations including an integrated ultra-violet light source, digital video camera for plate analysis and record management, extended battery operation, together with easy menu-driven operations.

TLC is an established laboratory procedure that identifies compounds belonging to the same general chemical class.  Now the microTLC enables both laboratory and field analysis to be performed by first responders and forensics scientists.

The lightweight microTLC provides a streamlined sampling and testing protocol that allows rapid, reproducible, separation and identification of the real-world drugs and cutting agents, explosives and precursors, with extended use to a wide range of hazardous materials. The miniaturized kit employs the use of commercially available plates as the separation medium and a colorimetric identification scheme that provides confirmation of the identity of the analyte under analysis. Pre-spotted plates can be used with drugs and explosives standard materials.  Total analysis times can be less than three minutes. Limits of detectability are typically at nanogram levels. Picogram levels are possible.

The elution solvent in the microTLC can be quickly changed to develop a different separation pattern. This provides a method to refine the identity of a suspected drug or explosive without physically changing the type of TLC plate. This is important when there may be a non-drug or non-explosive material that has the same retention factor as one of the standard drug or explosive compounds.

Many different types of explosive materials in commercial compounds, home-made bombs and improvised explosive devices can be analyzed by the microTLC, including aliphatic compounds.  Law enforcement case work backlogs, created by the increasing availability of cocaine and heroin mixtures together with new classes of synthetic cannabinoids and substituted cathinones, can be alleviated with the high throughput analysis possible with the microTLC unit.

The microTLC is available now and can be delivered within four weeks after receiving customer orders.

For more information about the microTLC and Field Forensics, please visit:

About Field Forensics

Founded in 2001, Field Forensics, Inc. (FFI) is a US-owned developer and manufacturer of forensics sampling and identification devices for forensics, law enforcement, homeland security, public health and military customers.  FFI has fielded several product lines, which address market needs in field chemical extraction, explosives detection and substance identification, explosives screening, covert operations, human intelligence and source handling; research and development in these and related technologies are underway. FFI develops devices using novel materials and methods to deliver systems that are highly evolved but simple to use in tough environments. FFI’s current products are based on four technologies: (1) Colorimetric Chemistry, (2) Solid Phase Micro Extraction (SPME and PSPME), (3) Thin-Layer Chromatography, and (4) Raman Spectroscopy.


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