Ionic Liquid-Modified Disposable Electrochemical Sensor Strip for Analysis of Fentanyl

Sarah A. Goodchild, Lee J. Hubble, Rupesh K. Mishra, Zhanhong Li, K. Yugender Goud, Abbas Barfidokht, Rushabh Shah, Kara S. Bagot, Alastair J.S. McIntosh, Joseph Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The increasing prevalence of fentanyl and its analogues as contaminating materials in illicit drug products presents a major hazard to first responder and law enforcement communities. Electrochemical techniques have the potential to provide critical information to these personnel via rapid, facile field detection of these materials. Here we demonstrate the use of cyclic square wave voltammetry (CSWV) with screen-printed carbon electrodes (SPCE), modified with the room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL) 1-butyl-1-methylpyrrolidinium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [C4C1pyrr][NTf2], toward such rapid "on-the-spot" fentanyl detection. This CSWV-based disposable sensor strip system provides an information-rich electrochemical fingerprint of fentanyl, composed of an initial oxidation event at +0.556 V (vs Ag/AgCl) and a reversible reduction and oxidation reaction at -0.235 and -0.227 V, respectively. The combined current and potential characteristics of these anodic and cathodic fentanyl peaks, generated using two CSWV cycles, thus lead to a distinct electrochemical signature. This CSWV profile facilitates rapid (1 min) identification of the target opioid at micromolar concentrations in the presence of other cutting agents commonly found in illicit drug formulations. The new protocol thus holds considerable promise for rapid decentralized fentanyl detection at the "point of need".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3747-3753
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - 5 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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