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Paula Tarttelin

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PhD TITLE

'Assessing the potential of metal oxide semiconducting gas sensors for illicit drug detection'

This project is set out to investigate MOS technology for the purposes of illicit drug detection. Validation methods on current sensor fabrication and gas sensing procedures will be carried out to determine the suitability of MOS for security applications. Different sensing materials will be explored so as to obtain optimal detection capabilities of target drugs. It is hoped that by targeting solvents used in the drug manufacturing process or moieties in the drugs, illicit drug detection with MOS sensors will be successfully tackled. Classifying techniques will then be applied to the dataset so as to assess the suitability of the devised gas-sensing array to detect illicit drugs. To date, a six-sensor array has been fabricated to successfully detect and discern amongst solvents used in drug manufacture, used as proxies of the drugs themselves.

PREVIOUS DEGREES

BSc Forensic Science - University of Kent, Canterbury
MSc Pharmaceutical Analysis & Quality Control - King's College London
MRes Security & Crime Science - University College London

PREVIOUS JOBS

I worked at the Healthy Infrastructure Research Centre at UCL. My work there focussed on investigating the detection of surrogates of infectious agents in air.

I'M ORIGINALLY FROM...

Barcelona, Spain

WHY I APPLIED TO THE SECURITY SCIENCE DTC

I applied for the Security Science DTC because it would enable me to continue in the field that is of utmost interest to me. It would, in addition, allow me to respond to the rewarding and challenging aspects of the programme, the results of which will hopefully contribute to the search for solutions regarding criminal problems in society.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

-Qualitative and Quantitative Analytical Chemistry applied to Forensic Science
-Materials Chemistry, in particular developing a new, portable, gas sensor device to detect and quantify illicit materials (drugs/explosives)
-Improving current detection methods for the analysis of drugs/ explosives.
-Better understanding the activities involved in the illegal traffic of materials

WHAT I DO WHEN I'M NOT STUDYING

Travelling, reading, learning new languages and going to the gym.

MY CAREER ASPIRATIONS

After working for a certain amount of time in the area of gas sensors, I would then like to pursue an opportunity working in real-case scenarios for the police at an international level. However, I would also consider staying in academia so as to continue my research.

WHAT KIND OF PARTNER ORGANISATION I'D LIKE TO WORK WITH AND WHAT I'D LIKE FROM THEM

I would like to work with any organisation or partners that share my research interests. However, I would be particularly interested in working with the Home Office or with European government departments.

LIST OF PUBLICATIONS

P. Tarttelin Hernández, A. Naik, E. J. Newton and S. Hailes, I. P. Parkin, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4TA00357H.

CONFERENCES ATTENDED

International Crime Science Conference (2013)

Future Security Conference, Bonn (2012)

IDRN Conference: Healthcare associated infections of the future - rising to the challenge (2011)

UKIEG Conference: Indoor Environments, Health and Wellbeing (2011)