Chemiluminescence detection of MDMA in street drug samples using tris(2,2′-bipyridine)ruthenium(III) Academic Article uri icon


  • Tris(2,2'-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) chemiluminescence was investigated for the detection of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) and several related compounds in street drug samples. Optimization using flow injection analysis showed that the selectivity of the reagent can be targeted towards the detection of secondary amines by altering the pH of the reaction environment. The greater selectivity of this mode of detection, compared to UV-absorbance, reduces the probability of false positive results from interfering compounds. The detection limit for MDMA under these conditions was 0.48 μM. A HPLC method incorporating post-column tris(2,2'-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) chemiluminescence detection was applied to the determination of MDMA in five street drug samples. The results obtained were in good agreement with quantification performed using traditional UV-absorbance detection, which demonstrates the viability of this method for confirmatory analysis of drug samples. This is the first report of tris(2,2'-bipyridine)ruthenium(II) chemiluminescence for the detection of MDMA and related amphetamine derivatives.


  • Theakstone, AG
  • Smith, ZM
  • Terry, JM
  • Barnett, NW
  • Francis, PS

publication date

  • 2015