VCU students are designing tools that law enforcement officials could someday use to quickly detect nicotine in e-cigarettes being sold illegally to minors.
A multidisciplinary team of students from the Departments of Chemical and Life Science Engineering and Biomedical Engineering developed two approaches to test for nicotine in e-liquids for its Capstone Design project in 2016-2017. Bennett C. Ward, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Life Science Engineering and director of project outreach for the College of Engineering, is the faculty adviser.
In one approach, the group found that nicotine in an e-liquid could quickly be discovered when using test strips and a dye that changes color in the presence of the drug. The team also developed a concept to use an ultraviolet/visible spectrophotometer to detect the substance.
Four other chemical and life science engineering students, along with two entrepreneurship students from the VCU School of Business, are moving the project forward by further developing the concepts and business plan.
This year’s team developed a plan to add nicotine to the list of substances that a handheld Raman spectroscopy device could test for using infrared light.