Tool Kit: Trace Evidence

Here are some items to assist with trace evidence collection and analysis.


Progeny ResQ from Rigaku offers a comprehensive chemical-detection range in handheld form. This Raman device has a unique 1064 nm excitation laser which eliminates fluorescence interference and enables users to analyze colored materials and substances through packaging or containers. This protects evidence from being compromised and the user from exposure to harmful substances. The device has a library of 12,000+ common materials and an integrated camera.
The Hitachi SU3500 Premium Variable-Pressure SEM features real-time 3-D image observation and is equipped with electron optics and signal detection schemes. The user-friendly GUI provides comprehensive image observation and display functions. Engineered for a wide range of applications including trace evidence work, the SU3500 can also be combined with the technologies and software to make it suitable for automated gunshot residue analysis.
Spectro UV-Vis Double PC 8 Auto and 1 Fixed Cell (Model UVD-3200) is a high performance UV-Vis double beam, automatic, eight-cell scanning spectrophotometer. It offers precise testing with a variable bandwidth of 0.5, 1.0, 2.0, and 5.0 nm. The device can be used extensively for qualitative and quantitative analysis in settings such as chemistry and biochemistry laboratories, DNA/RNA analysis, as well as in quality control departments.
Security Pro USA’s Portable Weather-Proof Trace and Explosives Detector is semi-automated and watertight for operation in rain or marine environments. The time required to obtain trace-level for low and high explosives, HME, and other related compounds is approximately 30 seconds per sample. The detection limits for explosives residues are in the low nanogram levels. If high levels are detected, no clear-down or carry-over issues arise between samples.
Sarstedt offers a range of DNA-free certified Forensic-Swabs: the original Forensic-Swab (95mm polystyrene-stemmed viscose swab in a screw-cap transport tube with integral ventilation membrane for self-drying within the tube); the Forensic-Swab L (extended handle for hygienic collection of reference samples); and the Forensic-Swab XL (125mm swab). Swabs and tubes feature a GS1 Data Matrix encoded with ID and serial number for matching after collection.
HEMCO EnviroMax enclosures are engineered and built to your size requirement to isolate forensics instruments and processes such as evidence sampling and liquid handling. Enclosures can provide HEPA filtered air into the work chamber, or they can vent hazardous fumes to the outside. Enclosures can feature clear sides and access from any or all sides. Worksurfaces, cabinets, tables, and a wide selection of accessories can be installed to meet specific user requirements.
Erlab’s CaptairFlex Ductless Fume Hood is designed to protect users from toxic fumes, vapors, odors, and hazardous powders when examining items for trace evidence or analysis of trace evidence that involves toxic or noxious chemicals. The hood is designed with ample work space, a slanted sash for excellent visibility, and user access ports that provide a safe and comfortable working position. For more information, visit the Erlab website:
ULTRAPOL Advance Precision Lapping and Polishing machine offers a fast, accurate way to remove materials from semiconductor packages, to allow for chip-off and related data extraction methods to be carried out. The sample to be processed is attached to the polisher by means of a Quick-Release mounting mechanism. The Quick-Release mechanism allows the sample to be easily transferred between the ULTRAPOL Advance and a microscope for assessing the polishing progress.
The 20/30PV from CRAIC Technologies can analyze many types of trace evidence with multiple techniques. Designed for forensic analysis, the 20/30PV can quantify everything from paint chips, textile fibers, dyed hair, cosmetics, questioned documents, soils, and even the color and refractive index of glass. Operating in the UV-visible-NIR region, this system is able to capture both images and microspectra by absorbance, reflectance, fluorescence, polarization, and Raman.
The IDRaman mini fits in the palm of your hand, yet is ruggedly dependable for fast Raman analyses ranging from chemical and explosive agent detection in the field to quality assurance/quality control sampling in the laboratory. The system includes an editable library of about 30 Raman spectra and can be used on liquid and solid samples. In addition, the low average power needed eliminates sample damage and the possible ignition of explosive samples. The IDRaman is built by Ocean Optics and is available from Ancal, Inc. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
The Aven Mighty Scope 5M USB Digital Microscope provides adjustable magnification, image and video capture, measurement software, and a USB interface that connects to any computer. The broad magnification range and large working distance are useful in evidence gathering. Rather than using traditional eyepieces, users see magnified images on a monitor. Models are available with standard white LED lights, UV, and NIR LED—all ideal for forensic inspection and analysis.
HPLC and ion chromatography can be used in gunshot residue, poisons, drug, and paint analyses. The Cecil Instruments’ Adept and Q-Adept HPLC and IonQuest Ion Chromatography systems may be used with the Cecil electrochemical detector. This scanning DC and pulsed amperometric electrochemical detector, with its wide choice of working and reference electrodes, may also be used with third-party liquid chromatography systems. Control is through the detector’s stand-alone control keys.
Xenemetrix’s Genius IF (Secondary Targets) EDXRF spectrometer provides a non-destructive qualitative and quantitative determination from Carbon(6) to Fermium(100), with detection limits from sub-ppm to high weight percent concentrations. It combines eight secondary targets with eight customizable tube filters used in direct excitation mode to allow optimal excitation of all elements that can be detected in EDXRF. The Wide Angle Geometry secondary target technique provides results for major, minor, and trace element analysis.
The Leeds LCT trace evidence comparison microscope is designed for forensics and other sciences where the critical comparison of specimens such as hair, fibers, paint chips, plant matter, and particulates is needed. Providing a large 22mm field of view and an erect, unreversed image, the LCT allows the operator to quickly and easily manipulate specimens for examination. With a compact footprint and dual-view accessory option, the LCT is ideal for teaching institutions and forensic laboratories.
With the PGR-1064 Handheld Raman Chemical, Explosive & Narcotic Identifier, you can identify chemicals, explosives, and narcotics in solid, liquid, or powder form, utilizing 1064nm Raman spectroscopy. Bomb squads, drug task forces, law enforcement, hazmat, and the military can utilize the PGR-1064 to help execute corrective action quickly, safely, and confidently. The device provides results quickly. In most operations, data acquisition occurs in two seconds and identification of the unknown substance within approximately ten seconds.
Precellys homogenizers significantly enhance the quality of biological material extracted from hard samples such as bone or hair. Organic material is commonly scarce and traditional methods frequently yield inconclusive or poor results. To prevent biological degradation during sample processing, Precellys can also be coupled with the Cryolys (cooling unit) to maintain a constant temperature of 4°C. Precellys can process up to 24 samples in minutes with high reproducibility, which decreases sample processing time.
The Linkam THMS600 hot stage with T95 Temperature Programmer allows accurate analyses of glass found at a crime scene. Refractive index is a distinguishing feature of glass, and the Becke Line method for assessing a particle’s refractive index is a nondestructive, inexpensive, and fast way to tell if glass fragments could be linked to an individual source. Using this Linkam stage, a lab can measure the refractive index of a glass particle to an absolute value while using one refractive index liquid rather than trying several to find the closest match.
Renishaw’s inVia is a research-grade confocal Raman microscope. Its robust design and precision automated assemblies enable the inVia to complete common tasks—such as switching laser wavelength, changing diffraction grating, and acquiring a Raman image—rapidly, simply, and reliably, without the need for manual intervention. This is especially useful in busy laboratories with multiple users. InVia is simple to operate yet delivers exceptional performance, reliable results, flexibility, and capability, without complexity.
Panasonic’s Toughpad FZ-G1 tablet is a lightweight, rugged ten-inch tablet ideal for trace evidence collection and analysis in a wide range of environments. Powered by Windows and a fourth-generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor, it offers features such as a daylight-readable HD touchscreen that works with gloves, a wide range of connectivity options, and vehicle mounting compatibility. With resistance to drops, extreme temperatures, and a sealed, all-weather design, it’s built to handle the real-world conditions that professionals face in the field.
The OHAUS Explorer series of high-performance laboratory balances are powered by the SmarText 2.0 easy-to-use graphical software featuring 14 applications, virtual QWERTY with a numeric keypad, and capacity weight indication bar. Weighing results are displayed on the high-resolution 5.7-in. color touchscreen display with icons for simple menu navigation. Explorer also features a detachable display panel as well as four programmable, touchless sensors for hands-free operation and improved laboratory efficiency.
Quantifiler DNA Quantification Kits enable forensic labs to obtain quantitative and qualitative assessments of total DNA in a single, real-time PCR reaction. The HP and Trio kits give quantification of forensic DNA at sub-picogram concentration levels utilizing multi-copy targets and are equipped with a Degradation Index for sample quality assessment. These kits were developed in conjunction with downstream next-generation STR kits and software for easier data analysis across the entire forensic laboratory workflow.
908 Devices’ M908 is a handheld chemical detection device powered by high-pressured mass spectrometry. This lightweight tool uses a targeted threat list to enable rapid analysis of priority chemical warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, and precursors in all phases, from surface residues to ambient and headspace gasses. M908 weighs 4.4 lbs., provides alerts within seconds, and is ruggedized for use in harsh environments. It is currently being used by state, local, federal, civilian, and military organizations worldwide.
The MPS “Multi Probe Alarm System” from Hampshire Controls Corp. is a temperature monitor that will alarm and notify you based on condition data that you program into the system, using up to four probes of various types. It includes a relay output on each probe, a battery backup system, setting of minimum/maximum environmental monitoring and alarm conditions, an email, phone/pager alarm notification system, and it can be operated with network and land-line telephone hookup.
The new EchoTherm HPLC Column Heater Model CO20 from Torrey Pines Scientific, Inc. features a temperature range from room temperature to 90.0°C, readable and settable to 0.1°C. The PID temperature control software regulates temperatures to ±0.1°C. A stable-temperature indicator lamp on the front panel lights when the target temperature is stable to within ±0.2°C. The CO20 features simple controls, digital display of target and actual chamber temperatures, an injection counter, and a 30-day timer with alarm and user settable Auto-Off.


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Bloodstain Pattern Analysis

Most forensic disciplines attempt to determine the “who” of a crime. But bloodstain pattern analysis focuses on the “what happened” part of a crime. This book is the third edition of Blood-stain Pattern Analysis. The authors explore the topic in depth, explaining what it is, how it is used, and the practical methodologies that are employed to achieve defensible results. It offers practical, common-sense advice and tips for both novices and professionals.