The potential of using Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-TOF-MS) in the forensic analysis of Micro-debris

Cameron Scadding, John Watling, Allen Thomas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    15 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The majority of crimes result in the generation of some form of physical evidence, which is available for collection by crime scene investigators or police. However, this debris is often limited in amount as modern criminals become more aware of its potential value to forensic scientists. The requirement to obtain robust evidence from increasingly smaller sized samples has required refinement and modification of old analytical techniques and the development of new ones. This paper describes a new method for the analysis of oxy-acetylene debris, left behind at a crime scene, and the establishment of its co-provenance with single particles of equivalent debris found on the clothing of persons of interest (POI).The ability to rapidly determine and match the elemental distribution patterns of debris collected from crime scenes to those recovered from persons of interest is essential in ensuring successful prosecution. Traditionally, relatively large amounts of sample (up to several milligrams) have been required to obtain a reliable elemental fingerprint of this type of material [R.J. Walting , B.F. Lynch, D. Herring, J. Anal. At. Spectrom. 12 (1997) 195]. However, this quantity of material is unlikely to be recovered from a POI. This paper describes the development and application of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma time of flight mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-TOF-MS), as an analytical protocol, which can be applied more appropriately to the analysis of micro-debris than conventional quadrupole based mass spectrometry. The resulting data, for debris as small as 70 μm in diameter, was unambiguously matched between a single spherule recovered from a POI and a spherule recovered from the scene of crime, in an analytical procedure taking less than 5 min.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)414-424
    JournalTalanta
    Volume67
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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