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Thermographic detection and quantification of THC in oral fluid at unprecedented low concentrations.

Biomed Opt Express. 2020 Apr 01;11(4):2178-2190

Authors: Thapa D, Samadi N, Patel N, Tabatabaei N

With recent changes in the legalization of cannabis around the world, there is an urgent need for rapid, yet sensitive, screening devices for testing drivers and employees under the influence of cannabis at the roadside and at the workplace, respectively. Oral fluid lateral flow immunoassays (LFAs) have recently been explored for such applications. While LFAs offer on-site, low-cost and rapid detection of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), their nominal detection threshold is about 25 ng/ml, which is well above the 1-5 ng/ml per se limits set by regulations. In this paper, we report on the development of a thermo-photonic imaging system that utilizes the commercially available low-cost LFAs but offers detection of THC at unprecedented low concentrations. Our reader technology examines photothermal responses of gold nanoparticles (GNPs) in LFA through lock-in thermography (LIT). Our results (n = 300) suggest that the demodulation of localized surface plasmon resonance responses of GNPs captured by infrared cameras allows for detection of THC concentrations as low as 2 ng/ml with 96% accuracy. Quantification of THC concentration is also achievable with our technology through calibration.

PMID: 32341875 [PubMed]

Source: ncbi 2

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