SBIR Phase I: Novel Field Drug Test System for Law Enforcement

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1843595
Agency Tracking Number: 1843595
Amount: $224,722.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: EW
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-01-31
Small Business Information
311 6th Ave., Indialantic, FL, 32903
DUNS: 079833238
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 David Nash
 (321) 848-4506
Business Contact
 David Nash
Phone: (321) 848-4506
Research Institution
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to improve law enforcement (LE) effectiveness in battling the illegal drug epidemic in the U.S. Death rates related to drug use have been increasing yearly and exceeded 72,000 Americans in 2017. To control this epidemic, the President?s 2019 Budget Request called for $30B in federal funding to combat illegal drug use, presenting a commercial opportunity to disrupt the existing market for conventional color test kits and Raman-based testing systems. Numerous interviews conducted with LE and forensic supply resellers demonstrate a readiness to adopt a new technology to replace drug test kits currently in use. This novel drug test system will improve the accuracy, reliability, ease of use, safety, and affordability of field drug identification and permit field use data analysis, which will help remove dangerous drugs from the streets. This innovation will also enhance the understanding of the chemical and photoluminescent properties of narcotic drugs reacting with various drug-indicator materials such as copper(I) iodide and validate the use of such information to identify suspected drugs. This is a wireless technology for the LE market sector, with the potential to eventually expand into the medical diagnostics and environmental analysis markets. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will develop a novel system for on-site field drug testing for LE. Conventional chemical-based color tests are outdated and highly flawed, causing issues for end users and the rest of the drug enforcement ecosystem. These issues include false positive drug tests and the lack of ability to identify new drugs that are introduced into U.S. communities each year. Superior testing methods such as handheld Raman devices are too expensive for LE agencies to widely adopt, thus a low-cost technologically-innovative solution is necessary. This innovation leverages photoluminescence spectroscopy in four main components: a handheld spectrometer, a drug-sampling device, a mobile app with a matching algorithm and access to a cloud database of reference drug standards. The goal of this phase I project is to achieve a high-fidelity Minimum Viable Product drug testing system. The investigation of alternative fluorescent drug-indicators is anticipated to result in novel methods for drug identification with high selectivity and sensitivity. These methods will be implemented into a drug-sampling device. As a part of software and hardware optimization, beta testers within LE will help identify system shortcomings and provide input to develop enhancements for usability and ergonomics. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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