DART-MS Data Interpretation Tool and Other Resources for Seized Drug Analysis

DART-MS Data Interpretation Tool and Other Resources for Seized Drug Analysis

This webinar originally occurred on October 21st, 2021
Duration: 1 hour


Over the past several years, emerging drugs and novel psychoactive substances have increased the challenge of seized drug analysis. Many laboratories have turned to new technology to improve the speed and accuracy of their practices. One such technology is Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS). While this technique rapidly produces information-rich in-source collision induced dissociation (is-CID) mass spectra, interpreting these mass spectra is not straightforward. This is especially true when the sample studied is a mixture with multiple components.

The new NIST/NIJ DART-MS Data Interpretation Tool (DIT) is a freely available and open-source software tool for working with is-CID mass spectra collected by DART-MS. It can be used to view reference is-CID mass spectra from the new NIST DART-MS Forensics Database as well as search user query mass spectra against a reference library to identify mixture components using the Inverted Library Search Algorithm (ILSA). The search results can be printed in pre-formatted reports for archiving. Several of the software’s features were iteratively designed with input from collaborating local, state, and federal forensic practitioners to ensure the software is intuitive and usable for the expected users.

This presentation will introduce potential users to the NIST/NIJ DART-MS DIT, including a live demonstration of the ILSA functionality for identifying mixture components from is-CID mass spectra – a method for presumptive screening of seized drug evidence.

In addition to the DIT, efforts have been made to develop additional resources to lower the barrier for implementation in the community. These resources, which laboratories can leverage for the adoption and implementation of DART-MS or other ambient ionization mass spectrometry techniques, will also be discussed.

Detailed Learning Objectives

  1. Attendees will learn how to download and run the NIST/NIJ DART-MS Data Interpretation Tool (DIT).
  2. Attendees will learn how the Inverted Library Search Algorithm (ILSA) function can be used for identifying compounds in seized drug evidence.
  3. Attendees will learn about the other resources available to laboratories for implementing DART-MS or other ambient ionization mass spectrometry techniques.


  • Ed Sisco | Research Chemist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Dr. Arun S. Moorthy | Mathematical Statistician in the Mass Spectrometry Data Center at the National Institute of Standards and Technology

Related Resources

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence webinar has been provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the presenter(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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