Lightsense is providing analytical tools to detect illicit drugs with high accuracy and sensitivity. The first product is a methamphetamine detector (scanner) that can detect powder or crystalline forms of methamphetamine on almost any surface, including skin, clothing, plastics, wood, masonry, and metals.
A unique feature of the Lightsense methamphetamine scanner is its ability to accurately detect methamphetamine in mixtures of other substances, often used as a disguise, at concentrations down to less than 1%, far beyond the capabilities of any competing spectroscopic technique.
The Lightsense methamphetamine scanner has successfully gone through a series of critical tests by federal and local law enforcement agencies and is expected to be an important tool for narcotics divisions of federal, state, and local law enforcement.
The handheld device is the size of a smartphone and can be carried and concealed easily, giving law enforcement officers an advantage in combating drug crime. The test results are instantaneous and non-destructive and can be conducted without touching or disturbing the surfaces scanned, including scanning through plastic bags, plastic wrap, and wax paper. The ease of use and its ruggedness––it can be dropped onto a hard surface from 6 feet without incurring damage––makes it extremely valuable for use in the field.
Methamphetamine when smoked or produced leaves a long-lasting residue on walls and furniture that is hazardous to occupants, in particular children and pets prone to lick surfaces.
Lightsense has developed a version of its methamphetamine detector for building inspector applications, DrugDertect-M1-I, which has been used successfully to detect trace quantities of the drug in homes, cars, and RV’s and in commercial buildings including hotels, making the detector a valuable tool for building inspection. The ability to get an instant reading on the presence of methamphetamine avoids the expense and time of sending samples to remote laboratories.
The handheld illicit drug detector products are based on Lightsense’s patented advanced optical detection technology, fusing two separate spectroscopic techniques, and provide unique solutions to the challenges of identifying chemical substances in critical environments.
Although methamphetamine use is growing rapidly, the highest priority of state, local and federal law enforcement in the US is fentanyl. Fentanyl is a special case given its extreme toxicity and the difficulty of detecting small amounts mixed in with other substances for which there is currently no adequate handheld optical instrument. This requires both high sensitivity and specificity. A fentanyl detector with a similar high sensitivity and accuracy as the methamphetamine detector is under development and the product will be launched during the first half of 2021.
Beyond methamphetamine and fentanyl single drug detectors, a multi-channel instrument with embedded AI/machine-learning with the capability to detect a range of illicit drugs important to law enforcement, including heroin and cocaine in addition to fentanyl and methamphetamine will be launched in 2022.