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Detailed Drug Checking with Amplifi ID: A Guide to Sample Preparation

Updated: Apr 3

Spectra Plasmonics' Amplifi ID Drug Checking system provides precise drug analysis through its advanced technology. By using a combination of non-destructive bulk scans and semi-destructive trace scans, it detects crucial compounds found in street drug samples. The preparation process for both methods is straightforward, with slight variations depending on the sample type. Here's what you need to know about preparing drug samples for testing with Amplifi ID. 

Amplifi ID's Drug Checking Range

The Amplifi ID system is capable of testing an array of drug samples in their raw state, such as powders, crystals, rocks, and pills. It's important to note that the sample's form influences the preparation steps, especially for trace scans. The next section details the sample preparation for both bulk and trace scan. For more information on the differences between these two scan types click here to read our Bulk vs. Trace blog post.  

Preparing Samples for Bulk and Trace Scans

Preparing Bulk Scan

1. Collection: The substance should be placed within a clear bag that is compatible with the bulk scan attachment. Any plastic bag can be used as long as it is transparent.

2. Sample insertion: Place the bag inside the bulk attachment. Bulk scan can be conducted with as little as 20mg of sample as long as the substance is covering the entire viewing window in the attachment.

3. Scanning: The sample in the bag is then scanned using a laser, identifying substances present in higher concentrations without any dilution or damage to the sample. Since no sample is destroyed, this scan type is considered non-destructive.

Bulk scan with Amplifi ID drug checking device
A sample inserted into the bulk attachment of the Amplifi ID

Preparing Trace Scan

1. Collection: Retrieve roughly 5mg of the sample from its container/ bag using the microscoop. One full scoop is approximately the 5mg needed for trace scan. For pills and crystals, a piece must be broken off, crushed to a powder form, and then measured. Breaking off a piece can be done safely by crushing a section of the drug inside a bag. Asking clients to submit even a small piece of their substance can be a huge hurdle. Its recommended you show the size of the scoop needed to the clients to help them visualize how little sample is needed.

2. Dilution: The sample is dissolved in a methanol solution. Sometimes crystal or pill-like samples require additional work to break up and dissolve in solution. You can use the tip of the scoop to break up the sample within the solution vial.

3. Application: Using a disposable pipette, place a drop of the solution onto the consumable's active area and wait for it to dry completely. This will ensure the trace scan will be as accurate as possible.

4. Scanning: Insert the consumable into the trace scan attachment and conduct a trace scan. Since part of the sample is not returned to the client, this is considered a semi-destructive method.

Sample Disposal

Once a test has been completed its important to properly dispose of all of the consumables used during the procedure. The microscoop, pipette, test consumable and sample vial should all be disposed in a sharps container. It is important to communicate to clients the sample vial is not able to be reused or mixed back into the sample for reuse, as methanol is a toxic substance when ingested.  

The Versatility of Amplifi ID's Sampling

The trace scan process requires a small portion of the sample (about 5mg), which is made unrecoverable due to dilution. This is particularly significant for pills and crystals, which must be crushed before they can be measured and dissolved. This semi-destructive method is vital for detecting substances present in trace amounts, which are crucial for comprehensive drug analysis. 


Using the combined results from bulk and trace scans, the Amplifi ID system delivers a thorough assessment of a drug's composition. This dual approach ensures that people who use drugs are provided with detailed and actionable substance information, contributing effectively to harm reduction practices. 


To learn more about how the Amplifi ID system can aid in your drug checking and harm reduction programming, reach out to our team by clicking the button below. 



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