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Suite of Aptamer-Based Sensors for the Detection of Fentanyl and Its Analogues

NCJ Number
ACS Sensors Volume: 8 Issue: 5 Dated: April 2023 Pages: 1901–1911
Date Published
April 2023
11 pages

This article presents the development of a series of new aptamer-based assays and sensors that can detect fentanyl and fentanyl analogues.


Fentanyl and its analogues are potent synthetic opioids that are commonly abused and are currently the number one cause of drug overdose death in the United States. The ability to detect fentanyl with simple, rapid, and low-cost tools is crucial for forensics, medical care, and public safety. Conventional on-site testing options for fentanyl detection - including chemical spot tests, lateral-flow immunoassays, and portable Raman spectrometers - each have their own unique flaws that limit their analytical utility. Here, the authors have developed a series of new aptamer-based assays and sensors that can detect fentanyl as well as several of its analogues in a reliable, accurate, rapid, and economic manner. These include colorimetric, fluorescent, and electrochemical sensors, which can detect and quantify minute quantities of fentanyl and many of its analogues with no response to other illicit drugs, cutting agents, or adulterants - even in interferent-ridden binary mixtures containing as little as 1% fentanyl. Given the high performance of these novel analytical tools, the authors foresee the potential for routine use by medical and law enforcement personnel as well as the general public to aid in rapid and accurate fentanyl identification. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: April 1, 2023