Providing illicit drugs results in five seconds using ultra-portable NIR technology: An opportunity for forensic laboratories to cope with the trend toward the decentralization of forensic capabilities

Forensic Sci Int. 2020 Dec;317:110498. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2020.110498. Epub 2020 Sep 10.


The analysis of illicit drugs faces many challenges, mainly regarding the production of timely and reliable results and the production of added value from the generated data. It is essential to rethink the way this analysis is operationalised, in order to cope with the trend toward the decentralization of forensic applications. This paper describes the deployment of an ultra-portable near-infrared detector connected to a mobile application. This allows analysis and display of results to end users within 5s. The development of prediction models and their validation, as well as strategies for deployment within law enforcement organizations and forensic laboratories are discussed.

Keywords: Big data; Cannabis; Cocaine; Forensic science; Heroin; Machine learning; Near infrared; Statistical model; Validation.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Drug Contamination
  • Forensic Toxicology / instrumentation*
  • Forensic Toxicology / methods*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / isolation & purification*
  • Infrared Rays*
  • Mobile Applications*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Substance Abuse Detection / instrumentation
  • Substance Abuse Detection / methods


  • Illicit Drugs