This websites uses cookies, by continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. View our privacy policy.

Laboratory Services

Our independent forensic scientists are experts in a variety of forensic investigations. 

We provide a reliable, high quality analysis and interpretation service, with rapid turnaround times at competitive prices.

Trace Substance Testing

Mass Spec has a range of innovative forensic techniques that enable the rapid, simultaneous detection of trace substances across a range of surfaces without any requirements for sample preparation, or damage to the exhibit. Using a laboratory and processes that are UKAS ISO 17025 accredited, Mass Spec provides a complete turn-key trace detection service for a range of applications.

Unlike most other laboratories, Mass Spec has built up extensive databases of the prevalence of different substances they have been asked to test. These databases get larger and more comprehensive every day. One popular application is the detection of illicit drugs on banknotes and other items found at a crime scene. The amount of drugs detected on seized banknotes, mobile telephones, vehicles, and clothing is compared and contrasted with the amount of drugs detected on these items when taken from the general population e.g. in the case of banknotes, comparisons are made with banknotes taken during legitimate financial transactions, such as money from a Bank, shop, Casino etc.


Mass Spec’s experts report their opinions as to whether or not the findings from the seized items differ significantly from what is expected in the general population. In the event that significant differences are reported, the Court is able to consider how the contamination may have arisen. One obvious possibility being that highly contaminated items have been closely involved with quantities of drugs.

Mass Spec is the only laboratory which attempts to put trace drugs evidence found on banknotes, mobile telephones, clothing, and vehicles into context; going beyond a simple reporting of detection to determining the significance of the finding of drugs. This approach can be used in a wide range of other trace detection scenarios, including explosive detection and identification.


Mass Spec uses Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Ionisation (APCI) for trace detection as an alternative to chemical ionisation.


Mass Spec is renowned for MSMS processes for drug and explosives trace detection projects. The process involves multiple steps of mass spectrometry selection, with fragmentation occurring in between the stages.


Thermal desorption (TD) is an essential part of Mass Spec's trace detection strategy. As a process it observes desorbed molecules from a surface when the surface temperature is increased.

Contact Mass Spec Analytical on +44(0)117 317 3600