2013 R&D 100 Winner
Thermo Scientific TruNarcLaw enforcement personnel have traditionally used colorimetric kits for presumptive identification of suspected narcotics. A portion of the seized sample is consumed when mixed with the chemicals within the kit. A chemical color change is matched against a color scale to indicate the presence of an illicit substance. If no match is found, additional kits are used, but sometimes the concentration is too low and user error is common. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.’s Thermo Scientific TruNarc is a handheld Raman spectrometer designed for rapid identification of suspected narcotics in the field. The TruNarc captures a Raman spectrum using its 785-nm diode laser, then compares the acquired spectrum to its library spectra of drugs, drug precursors, cutting agents and other materials. It then presents, within minutes, the user with a red screen and the identified drug or drug precursors if drugs are found, or a green screen if the sample is free of narcotics.

Handheld Raman spectrometer for narcotics detection

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

Development Team

Thermo Scientific TruNarc development team members. Back row (l-r): David Riddle, Lei Zhang, John Maltais, Ou Chen, Malcolm Smith, Greg Vander Rhodes, Maura Fitzpatrick, Mike Burka. Front row (l-r): Lisa Walbridge, David Perez, Ronny Lopez, Peidong Wang, Steve McLaughlin, Cora Giurescu.


The Thermo Scientific TruNarc Development Team from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.
Craig Gardner, Principal Developer
Michael Burka
Maura Fitzpatrick
Cora Giurescu
Ronny Lopez
Kevin Loucks
Steve McLaughlin
David Perez
John Richardson
David Riddle
Yu Shen
Malcolm Smith
Lisa Walbridge
Peidong Wang
Lei Zhang