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HPU’s forensic science program acquires mass spectrometer

Mass Spectrometer for webBROWNWOOD – May 19, 2017 – Howard Payne University’s forensic science program recently acquired an Agilent tandem gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer, an analytical instrument that helps to identify chemicals based on molecular mass and ionic charge and is commonly used in many fields of science.

The equipment was acquired as part of the Drug Enforcement Administration South Central Laboratory’s routine turnover program.

“The DEA laboratory upgrades its instrumentation every five years,” said Dr. Derek L. Smith, associate professor of physical science and head of HPU’s forensic science program. “The previous laboratory director instituted a program whereby he donated the outgoing instrumentation to academic programs who train students in disciplines that could benefit the DEA in the future.”

Through this program, HPU’s School of Science and Mathematics received a donation of a tandem gas chromatograph-FT infrared spectrophotometer in 2010, and this latest acquisition further complements the analytical capabilities of HPU’s applied science programs.

“The greatest value of these generous donations is the experience that students gain by working with research-grade instruments that we would not otherwise be able to afford and that students in other programs may not be able to operate independently at the undergraduate level,” said Dr. Smith. “We are deeply grateful for the beneficial relationship that we enjoy with Director Jerry A. Walker and the DEA laboratory.”


Cutline: Students in Dr. Smith’s instrumental analysis class perform initial trials with the university’s new mass spectrometer, implementing methods they obtained from research articles.