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Discrimination of phenethylamine regioisomers and structural analogues by Raman spectroscopy.

  • Liu, Cui-Mei1
  • Xu, Lin2
  • He, Hong-Yuan2
  • Jia, Wei1
  • Hua, Zhen-Dong1
  • 1 Key Laboratory of Drug Monitoring and Control, Drug Intelligence and Forensic Center, Ministry of Public Security, Beijing, China. , (China)
  • 2 College of Forensic Science, People's Public Security University of China, Beijing, China. , (China)
Published Article
Journal of forensic sciences
Publication Date
Sep 28, 2020
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.14563
PMID: 32986857


In this study, the Raman spectra of 21 phenethylamines were obtained using far-red excitation (785 nm). The distinguishing ability of Raman for phenethylamines, especially for phenethylamine regioisomers and structural analogues, was investigated. Here, the evaluation of a cross section of Raman spectra demonstrated that all types of phenethylamines were distinguishable, even for certain structural analogues with high spectrum similarity. Raman exhibited high distinguishing ability for phenethylamine regioisomers that differ in the substitution position of halogen, methoxy, alkyl, or other substituted groups; as well as for structural analogues containing different groups, such as furanyl, 2,3-dihydrofuranyl, halogen, and alkyl substituted at the same position. The Raman spectra for homologues with differences in only a methyl group were found to be highly similar; however, their spectra demonstrated small but detectable differences. Four analogue mixtures and 59 seized samples were also analyzed to study the practical use of the Raman method in forensic field. 95% of the seized samples were correctly identified, which significantly validated the ability of Raman method in identifying the correct isomers. Accordingly, this study provides a non-destructive, high-throughput and minimal sample preparation technique for the discrimination of phenethylamines. © 2020 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

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