The Paper Analytical Device Project
Student: Ralph Hayyat, 2016-2017
Sponsor: Prof. Marya Lieberman, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Notre Dame, IN
Police officers today face a difficult job in the war on drugs. Their ability to acquire samples for testing is limited by probable cause, and sometimes it is difficult to make a decision with absolute certainty. Police dogs are most often used to detect the presence of drugs and to determine whether or not officers have probable cause. Studies have shown that dogs are not always reliable, and that they tend to alert officers to false positives. When officers come across powdered substances or pills, it is difficult to discern them from illicit drugs. Today, police officers must react in these situations while having little information. When a test is administered, it is usually a substance-specific test, so there is still some guesswork involved in determining which test to carry out. The PAD project brings an innovative solution to this problem. The PAD requires minimal equipment and is cheap to manufacture. It can enable the police force to more accurately understand the constituents in a substance in record time, and on the spot. This can enable officers to make more informed decisions, and in turn increase the efficiency of their work.