Detection equipment


MSA has developed a mobile mass spectrometer based detection systems called the SCENTINEL®. Ahead of its time, the Scentinel is one of the first mobile mass spectrometer systems available for use by law enforcement officers, airport personnel and the military.

The mobile, multi-purpose, trace detection system utilises a Sciex API 2000 mass spectrometer, with all the necessary peripheral equipment on-board for mobile operation. The flexibility of the SCENTINEL® allows different sampling devices to be fitted for the real time detection of concealed drugs, explosives and other substances. The system has been deployed in a variety of scenarios for Customs, Prison Services, Police and other agencies for the examination of:- 

  • People
  • Vehicles
  • Indoor/ Outdoor areas
  • Bags and Packages
  • Freight
  • Boarding Passes
  • Banknotes / Paperwork and Clothing

SCENTINEL® is completely self contained and can be easily transported, deployed, calibrated and set up within minutes of reaching the location of interest. Forensically acceptable results can be obtained directly at the scene without the need and associated problems of transporting samples or exhibits to the laboratory thus reducing the chain of evidence. The rates of false positive and false negative are near to zero, especially in comparison to technologies such as ion mobility spectrometry and other screening devices.

SCENTINEL® is simple to operate and comes with expert and non-expert user interfaces, which enables the system to be operated by different levels of user. The non-expert user interface provides step-by-step instructions, guiding the user through the analysis process. Each sample is analysed and the result interpreted in less than 8 seconds. The results are displayed as a red light green light alarm, removing the need for the operator to interpret the significance of the results.

In expert mode, real time data can be displayed on the monitor in a clear and easily understood format so that the type and levels of substance can be instantly identified. The results are recorded on the hard disc and expert review is available at a later date.

The combination of the API tandem mass spectrometer and the variety of sampling interfaces makes SCENTINEL® the most flexible detection system on the market. There is no sample preparation required and real world samples such as boarding passes, tickets, swabs, filters, clothing, high volume air samples etc. can be directly analysed.

The Scentinel Forensic Laboratory - Putting the drugs business out of business. Download >

Typical detectable compounds

Explosives Drugs
EGDN – Ethyleneglycoldinitrate Opiates – Diacetylmorphine (Heroin) in Hydrochloride and base forms & Morphine
NG – Nitroglycerine Cannabis – Resin & Herbal
DNT – Dinitrotoluene Cocaine – Hydrochloride and base forms
TNT – Trinintrotoluene Benzodiazepines
PETN – Pentaerythritoltetranitrate Barbiturates
RDX – Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine Amphetamine type substances – including Ecstasy, DMA, MDEA & Methamphetamine
HMX – Cyclotetramethylene Tetranitramine  
DMNB – 2,3-dimethyl 2,3-dinitrobutane  
Peroxide explosives  

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more