Electrosensing smart device for multi-drug detection (E-DRUGSENS). 01/11/2019 - 31/10/2023


The trafficking and use of illicit drugs represents a serious threat to the well-being of society, with severe health, economic, and political implications. Belgium plays a central role in Europe's drug issues, being the country with the largest volume of cocaine seized, while also being one of the main producers of amphetamine and MDMA. To effectively monitor passing cargo, luggage and people on the presence of illicit drugs, customs services and law enforcement need quick and selective tests to screen suspicious powders on-site. This way, immediate action can be undertaken before the sample is sent for expensive and time-consuming analysis in the lab. The currently used colour tests have poor reliability, resulting in a large number of false positives and false negatives. I therefore want to develop a portable electrochemical smart device for fast, low cost, highly accurate and simultaneous detection of illicit drugs on-site. In the proposed strategy, chemometric algorithms will convert the raw electrochemical data into an easy read-out on a smartphone (mobile application) for users without scientific backgrounds. The insights gained in the development of this sensor will have a broad impact since the application on drugs can be expanded to other end users than law enforcement, such as emergency physicians. The approach can also be adapted to other analytes such as antibiotics.


Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project