Chemical detecting chip identifies cocaine in minutes, and costs 10 cents

A new, low-cost chemical sensing chip could potentially sniff out cocaine, opioids and marijuana within minutes, according to researchers from the University of Buffalo.

Scientists say the chip could be integrated into a handheld device and used by law enforcement and others to detect drugs in blood, breath, urine or spit.

“Currently, there is a great demand for on-site drug testing,” said Qiaoqiang Gan, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical engineering in the University at Buffalo School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, said in a statement. “The high-performance chip we designed was able to detect cocaine within minutes in our experiments. It’s also inexpensive: It can be produced using raw materials that cost around 10 cents, and the fabrication techniques we used are also low-cost.”

He added, the expansion of the legalization of marijuana across the Unites States has led to a need for a means of testing drivers for drug use.