FAIMS marijuana breathalyzer tech achieves new benchmark highs
Cannabix focusses on systematically reducing the device’s size by way of electronics, components
Cannabix Technologies Inc., a Vancouver-based developer of marijuana breathalyzer devices for law enforcement and the workplace, reports that its engineers have made major advancements on the firm’s high-field asymmetric waveform ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) breathalyzer for analyte sensitivity and portability.
In recent live breath testing of marijuana smokers, the Cannabix FAIMS bench device has demonstrated the sensitivity, resolution and discrete responses needed to isolate tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive component of marijuana that causes impairment, as well as other key marijuana metabolites (such as 11-hydroxy THC) and other cannabinoids from the thousands of other compounds present in breath.
This kind of selectivity is significant because it provides far more pharmacokinetic information than detection of THC alone, and can allow for greater discernment of a subject’s recency of cannabis use. This has been achieved with a testing set up requiring only a few breaths which is collected and analyzed on-site within seconds, without any sample preparation needed. Development of the Cannabix FAIMS drug screen device is aimed primarily for the law enforcement market.
Device uses ion mobility filtering techniques
Furthermore, over recent months engineers have focussed on systematically reducing the size of the FAIMS electronics and components, and developing a fully battery powered system, further paving the way for a portable device. Engineers are building a novel system that meets the power and heat dissipation requirements in the field for a complex high voltage square wave generator. Critical achievements in relation to power supply, air flow, cooling, electronics and detector module are well underway and showing promising early results.
The Cannabix device has been designed and built in a series of modules that together allow for sample intake, ionization, filtering and detection – all done under atmospheric pressure. In particular, the device uses ion mobility filtering techniques (related to mass spectrometry – the gold standard analytical technique for molecular detection). In addition, the device has the ability to couple directly to a mass spectrometer in order for chemical species validation.