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GC–IRD methods for the identification of some tertiary amines related to MDMA

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 199 Issue: 1-3 Dated: June 2010 Pages: 18-28
Hadir. M. Maher; Tamer. Awad; Jack DeRuiter; C R. Clark
Date Published
June 2010
11 pages

This project used gas chromatography with infrared detection (GC-IRD) methods to identify some tertiary amines related to MDMA.


GC-IRD provides direct confirmatory data for the identification of the drug of abuse; 3,4-MDMA and its regioisomer; 2,3-MDMA, from a set of seven tertiary amines which have an isobaric or regioisomeric relationship with the MDMAs. These compounds include three ring substituted regioisomers of 2-dimethylamino-1-(methoxyphenyl)ethanone, two ring regioisomers of N,N-dimethyl-2-(methoxymethylphenyl)ethanamine in addition to N,N-dimethyl-2-(2,3- and 3,4-methylenedioxyphenyl)ethanamine. The major mass spectral fragments for each of these unique isomers occur at equivalent mass and all have equal molecular weight. Thus, gas chromatography with mass spectrometry detection (GC-MS) does not provide sufficient information for the confirmation of identity of any one of these isomers to the exclusion of the other compounds. The infrared spectra for these compounds allow for identification of any one of these amines. This differentiation is accomplished without the aid of chemical derivatization. The IR spectra served to divide the studied compounds into four groups depending on their absorption bands in the region 2700-3100;1. Moreover, compounds with different ring substitution pattern within each group can be differentiated by several bands in the 700-1700;1 region. These regioisomeric substances are well resolved by GC on Rtx-1 stationary phase and the vapor-phase infrared spectra clearly differentiate among this set of compounds. (publisher abstract modified)