Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry

In general

Use and acceptance in Indiana

In general

• Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC/MS) is an instrumental technique, comprising a gas chromatograph (GC) coupled to a mass spectrometer (MS), by which complex mixtures of chemicals may be separated, identfied [sic] and quantified.

Dr. Ian D. Bull, Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS), University of Bristol: NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility: Techniques, (last updated Jan. 14, 2008)

• Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is considered the “gold standard” of tests within the forensic drug testing field.

Major David Edward Coombs, United States v. Blazier: So Exactly Who Needs an Invitation to the Dance?, The Army Lawyer, July 2010, at 15, 19(citation omitted)

See Walsh & Hawks, Drug Screening: Is It Always Reliable?, U.S. Pharmacist, 1987, at 107, 110(“[B]ased on its accuracy, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is the procedure that is most often used in forensic work.”)

See also David L. Laporte, The Conflict and Interaction of the Americans with Disabilities Act with the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act: Two Modest Proposals to Achieve Greater Synchrony, 45 DePaul L. Rev. 537, 572 n. 283 (1996)(citing Mark A. Rothstein, Drug Testing in the Workplace: The Challenge to Employment Relations and Employment Law, 63 Chi.-Kent L. Rev. 683, 693 (1987))(“The gas chromatography/mass spectrometry is a much more expensive and accurate test.”)

Use and acceptance in Indiana

• [The defendant] neither contests the existence of a theory generally accepted in the scientific community that forensic tests can produce reliable results as to the presence of a chemical compound in a given sample, nor that Thin Layer Chromatography or Gas Chromatograph Mass Spectrometry (“GCMS”) are capable of reliably detecting the presence of a chemical compound in a given sample which is generally accepted in the relevant scientific community.

Markley v. State, 603 N.E.2d 891, 893 n. 5 (Ind. Ct. App. 1992), trans. denied

• We find [the defendant’s] equation of Scientist Burrow's chemical tests with the quick, on-the-scene field tests performed by an officer unpersuasive. Scientist Burrow is a professional forensic scientist with the Indiana State Police Laboratory and has an extensive education and experience in drug analysis. [Scientist Burrow] testified to the specific test performed on the glass bottle, which presumptively indicated the presence of [m]ethamphetamine. She elaborated that she performed a Thimlar chromatography test and a gas chromatography/mass spectrometry test on the specimen. These are the specialized tests that are part of the normal testing procedure and which require expert training to administer. Both of these tests are generally accepted in the relevant scientific community.

Sciaraffa v. State, 28 N.E.3d 351, 357-58 (Ind. Ct. App. 2015), trans. denied (emphasis added)(quotation marks and citations omitted)