Tool Kit

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Forensic Light Sources

Alternate light sources are an essential part of any crime-scene or laboratory tool kit. Used for detecting fluorescence in treated latent fingerprints, visualizing traces of blood or semen, and more... they allow us to see what we would otherwise miss with the naked eye.

Single Wavelength

The BattleLite Forensic Light from the Lynn Peavey Company features a 3-watt light that is set at 455nm (blue light). When paired with orange goggles, the light will illuminate body fluids, trace evidence, and fluorescent powdered fingerprints under all lighting conditions. Its rugged construction is owed to the fact that the BattleLite was initially designed for military use. It measures less than 5.25 in. long. The light can be toggled from “high” to “low”, and it comes with a diffuser lens that can be added when desired. The BattleLite kit includes the 455nm light source, the diffuser lens, goggles, three sets of lithium batteries, a foam insert, and tactical carrying case.


The durable HammerHead LED Forensic Alternate Light Sources from Medtech Forensics are made of aircraft-grade aluminum with a polycarbonate lens—or quartz glass for UV configuration—and utilize the latest LED technology from CREE and other top LED manufacturers. All lights are accurate to ±3nm, run on three CR123 batteries, and weigh 8.6 oz (245 g). The lights are available in 395, 450, 470, 495, 525 and 850nm. Each light offers two modes (high and low). Recommended operational distance is 10 ft (3 m). Battery life is four to six hours. The lights are available individually or as complete kits (that include a case and goggles).



The TriBrite lights from Tritech Forensics feature bright LED technology and come in two wavelengths: 415nm and 460nm. The TriBrite 415 has a UV beam color of light purple and is excellent for detecting latent prints treated with fluorescing powders or dyes, examining documents or currency, locating body fluids, or trace-evidence discovery. The TriBrite 460 has a UV beam color of bright blue, ideal for locating trace evidence such as hair or fibers, detecting body fluids, conducting SANE examinations for wounds or bruises, and for detecting fluorescent powder on latent prints.


Laser Based System


The Coherent TracER, available from Arrowhead Forensics, is a fully hand-portable, green laser-based system designed for trace-evidence detection, particularly latent prints. It is a cost-effective light source for use in crime labs and at crime scenes, as well as for covert and homeland-security applications. It can be used to locate fingerprints, fibers, body fluids, bone fragments, tooth chips, narcotics residue, and a variety of other types of trace evidence—even in high ambient-light environments. The TracER is designed to optimize illumination, ergonomics and functionality. It is available in 8- or 6-watt models, as well as a 4-watt compact model.


Wide Area Light Source

The Nomad is a portable, rechargeable LED Scene Light and Spotlight that can be deployed anywhere in 20 seconds. Available in white light (3,600 lumen), 470nm (blue), and 532nm (green), the user can also attach the diffuser lens for 120° scene lighting, or remove it for use as an 8° spotlight. Each light offers three intensities and runs on a rechargeable internal battery system, making it ideal for porting into the crime scene. Battery life is 2.5 to 9 hours, and it can be charged with a vehicle battery or AC adapter.

The new Crime-liteXL line from Foster + Freeman provides high-intensity, narrow bandwidth illumination for wide-area fluorescence examination of crime scenes. Its 40-watt radiant power is paired with a robust, portable design. The units deliver shadow-free light beams without “hotspots.” This line of lights offers units with blue, blue-green, and orange wavelengths, with 10% intensity bandwidths of 40 to 70nm. Trimming filters further reduce output bandwidths to 10nm.

Alternate Light Source Kits

The UltraLite ALS helps detect trace evidence, body fluids, fingerprints, blood spatter, gunshot residues and explosive accelerants. It can help reveal subcutaneous bruising, injuries, and wounds on bodies both living and dead, and assist in the location of evidence containing DNA. The UltraLite ALS is made from an aluminum-magnesium alloy that makes it both light-weight and durable. The unique fan-cooled lights provide both longer bulb life and wavelength output stability. UltraLite ALS also has four light-intensity power settings to provide the right amount of light for both examinations and photo capture. UltraLite ALS offers interchangeable light heads in UV, BMT (Blue Merge Technology), green, yellow, red, infrared, and white.

The Maxima MFK-3500 Series Forensic Light Source Kits from Spectronics Corporation come with either a UV spot beam or UV diffused beam. The kits utilize the latest Micro Discharge Light (MDL) technology to produce an ultra-powerful forensic inspection lamp. The Maxima lamp’s searchlight-type power allows for long-range, wide-area coverage. Working in either AC or DC voltage, it enables forensic specialists to view potential crime-scene evidence in the field or in the laboratory. Its 35-watt MDL bulb easily illuminates body fluids, fibers, fingerprints, and other fluorescent samples, even in daylight. Five interchangeable, twist-lock forensic filters provide a range of individual spectrums for detection of forensic samples.

The Maxima MFK-3500 Series The new Crime Scene Tri-Lite Kit provides every light needed to illuminate and process critical evidence—all in one small box. The three Inova X5 Lithium Powered LED flashlights included are made from aerospace-grade aluminum. Five LED lamps recessed into the X5 flashlight’s patented stainless-steel head are each surrounded by individual reflectors, creating a brilliant flood-beam pattern. Powered by two 123 lithium batteries with a remarkable 10-year shelf life, the X5 flashlight’s reliable performance makes it perfect for long-term duty. The kit includes white, blue and UV lights—married with UV and orange goggles—all in a convenient and durable plastic carrying case. To learn more about this kit, available from Forensics Source, go to:

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Item of Interest

The language barrier between English-speaking investigators and Spanish-speaking witnesses is a growing problem. (Updated 28 February 2011)