Date of Award

Spring 5-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Nathan Lents


An opioid abuse crisis in recent years has contributed to many overdoses and overdose-related deaths in the United States. In 2017, fentanyl and fentanyl analogs contributed to more than half of NYC’s overdose deaths in 2017. Carfentanyl – an extremely dangerous fentanyl analogue 100 times more potent than fentanyl – is very difficult to detect in drug samples because it is typically present in concentrations lower than analytical instruments can detect at standard settings. In this work, I hypothesize that gas chromatography-flame ionization detection (GC-FID), when optimized for the detection of carfentanyl by adjusting the split ratio, is more sensitive than standard GC-FID settings. Procaine in methanol solutions of 10 different concentrations ranging from 0.01mg/mL to 0.10mg/mL were prepared by carrying out serial dilutions and run using GC-FID. The 0.05mg/mL solution was then run at various split ratios ranging from 10:1 to 200:1. I found that the size of the procaine peak increases as the procaine concentration increases. Both an increase in concentration and a decrease in split ratio individually result in an increase in the size of the procaine peak, supporting my hypothesis. Based on the properties of procaine in this analysis, GC-FID can be optimized for the detection of small quantities of carfentanyl in non-biological samples by increasing the split ratio to increase the sensitivity of the instrument. Being able to detect carfentanyl that may be present in drug samples would assist in the tracking and regulation of carfentanyl and prevent related overdose deaths, as well as those related to fentanyl and other fentanyl analogues.



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