Updated Raman spectrometer provides improved analysis of forensic trace evidence

The latest in a line of Raman spectrometers tailored to meet the specific demands of forensic science, Foram3 retains the same compact bench-top design of previous systems but greatly increases system performance through the addition of a new high power laser (increased from 10mW to 80mW) and a highly sensitive CCD detector providing a spectrometer range of 200-3200 wavenumbers.

Initial trials of the Foram3 included a study into the Discrimination of Methamphetamine Precursors, an internal report carried out by Foster + Freeman applications expert Justin Gould, a specialist in the field of Drugs of Abuse who has previously produced drugs intelligence reports for the UK Home Office and National Crime Agency.

The study sought to quickly and accurately discriminate between ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, common precursors chemicals used in the production of methamphetamine that have the same molecular formula and are not well suited to Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) the analysis technique most commonly used by forensic laboratories.

Using the Foram3 integral video microscope for precise targeting, samples were scanned with results displayed on screen in less than 3 seconds. The resulting spectra allowed the two stimulants to be easily distinguished with the accuracy of the results being such that the technique may also facilitate in the interpretation of mixtures.

An essential technique for forensic laboratories wishing to analyse, discriminate and identify materials of forensic interest, high power 785nm Raman spectroscopy using the Foram3 is suitable for the analysis of explosives, cosmetics, fibres, paints, inks and other unknowns.


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