About MSA

Technology & techniques

MSA strives be in the forefront of forensic analysis; developing novel techniques whenever new challenges arise within their specialist fields. MSA pioneered the individual banknote technique and is the only company in the UK to offer this service, applying it to the detection of traces on a vast range of samples. This technique uses innovative technology developed in-house by our highly experienced team of chemists and engineers.

Using modified, off the shelf triple quadrupole mass spectrometers, a range of sampling devices has been specially developed to tackle a number of forensic analytical challenges, including the analysis of clothing, vehicles, fabrics, boarding passes or tickets, mobile telephones and banknotes. Our trace laboratory currently houses seven triple quadrupole mass spectrometer systems, each dedicated to processing a variety of forensic samples for traces of drugs.

MSA has designed and built a mobile mass spectrometer based contraband detector, which is primarily deployed for explosives detection. The Scentinel system is one of the first mobile mass spectrometer detectors to be developed in the world and is now used by law enforcement and government bodies.

Our bulk laboratory houses a range of equipment, including two GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) systems, a GC/FID (Gas Chromatography/Flame Ionisation Detector); used for drug profiling, a headspace dual-column GC for the analysis of body fluids for alcohol content, an IRMS (isotope ratio mass spectrometer) system; used for analysis and matching of plastics, tape and packaging, bulk drugs and fuels, an FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer); used for the analysis of drugs, packaging and plastics.

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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