The recent emphasis on Homeland Security is forcing many police and forensic teams to increase their capabilities, identifying and prosecuting cases of terrorism or terrorist hoaxes, potentially involving chemical or biological weapons. In order to respond to these cases in a more timely fashion and to dissolve potentially dangerous hysterical responses, many forensic teams are investigating the use of mobile laboratories which can be taken directly to the scene of the incident. Infrared microspectrometers are a natural choice for mobile laboratories; identification of many chemicals can be accomplished quickly by searching the obtained data against large spectral libraries. Microspectroscopy gives the added advantages of spatially separating species within a mixture, greatly extending the number of real world samples which can be identified. Pairing infrared microspectroscopy with Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) further enhances the utility by providing a technique to choose unique species to measure as well as providing a confirmatory identification technique. Implementation and use of infrared microscopes in mobile labs deployed by the National Guard Bureau will be discussed. The talk will focus on factors required for fielding of infrared microspectrometers in mobile labs as well as the use of instruments in these labs. Size, durability, and compatibility with existing equipment will be discussed in addition to sample preparation, spectral searching and decision methodology for identification of unknown samples. Examples of samples which have been analyzed using infrared microspectroscopy and PLM will be given to demonstrate where this combination of techniques fits into the overall scheme of sample identification.
Back to Applications of Vibrational Spectroscopy in Forensic Science II
Back to The 37th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (May 22-25, 2005)