About MSA


Mass Spec Analytical ltd. has been providing forensic analytical services and R&D capabilities for the past 16 years.


The now privately owned company was formed after a buyout from British Aerospace, of a department specializing in mass spectrometry based detection systems, capable of screening cargo and vehicles for illicit substances.

Since its inception, MSA has continued the innovative use of mass spectrometry in forensics, enabling a breakthrough in 1996 when the company launched the individual banknote analysis technique in the UK court system. This novel approach enabled many thousands of individual banknotes to be analysed quickly and reliably, making other techniques used at the time, obsolete.
MSA’s continued work on banknote analysis has resulted in the compilation of a vast database of drugs on banknotes. This is believed to be the largest database of currency in the world. The use of our novel forensic approach has assisted in the seizure of hundreds of millions of pounds, and the successful prosecution of individuals connected to drugs.

In 2003, the Company expanded its operations, by opening a further laboratory specialising in providing other analytical services including the profiling and characterisation of drug samples, the analysis of plastics and tapes for batch comparison, and the analysis of body fluids for alcohol content.

In 2007, the laboratory achieved accreditation for all its analytical services from the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The development of pioneering chemical techniques to differentiate between biofuels and fuels with synthetic or fossil origins, led to MSA becoming the world’s first laboratory to be granted accreditation for the analysis of biofuels, and the approved laboratory for the analysis of Formula 1 motor racing biofuels.

MSA strives to be at the forefront of cutting edge research and development and enjoys an international reputation based on work performed on behalf of a number of companies and British, Canadian, Japanese and US government agencies. Successive projects have resulted in the development of innovative equipment for a number of applications.

Latest news

Rapid Analysis of Drugs and Explosives

Government agencies across the globe are continuously evaluating security equipment used for Drugs and Explosives detection applications, which is a very expensive and time-consuming process. So we were very pleased to see in a recent paper by Tam et al that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has advocated the use of the Mass Spec Analytical ‘Scentinel’ system to massively reduce the time required to obtain results.

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Drug menace off the streets

A significant, longstanding figure within the drug dealing fraternity in Scotland has recently been found guilty by a majority verdict.

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Case study spotlight

Drug Trafficking/Money Laundering Operation: Drugs on money

The Operation was a long running international drug smuggling operation resulting in the seizure of more than 12 tons of controlled drugs with an estimated street value in excess of £61 million.

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