Skip to main content

Über dieses Buch

This book provides a line of communication between academia and end users/practitioners to advance forensic science and boost its contribution to criminal investigations and court cases. By covering the state of the art of promising technologies for the analysis of trace evidence using a controlled vocabulary, this book targets the forensics community as well as, crucially, informing the end users on novel and potential forensic opportunities for the fight against crime.

By reporting end users commentaries at the end of each chapter, the relevant academic community is provided with clear indications on where to direct further technological developments in order to meet the law requirements for operational deployment, as well as the specific needs of the end users.

Promising chemistry based technologies and analytical techniques as well as techniques that have already shown to various degrees an operational character are covered. The majority of the techniques covered have imaging capabilities, that is the ability to visualize the distribution of the target molecules within the trace evidence recovered. This feature enhances intelligibility of the information making it also accessible to a lay audience such as that typically found with a court jury. Trace evidence discussed in this book include fingermarks, bodily fluids, hair, gunshot residues, soil, ink and questioned documents thus covering a wide range of possible evidence recovered at crime scenes.



1. Mass Spectrometry Methods for the Recovery of Forensic Intelligence from Fingermarks

Mass spectrometry is a method of identifying molecules within a sample, based on a characteristic mass to charge ratio. Over the last decades, it has become possible to use mass spectrometry to obtain high resolution molecular images of surfaces. In this chapter, we will show how mass spectrometry techniques can be used to obtain high quality images of fingerprints, determine their placement compared with other traces (for example overlapping fingerprints or inks) and determine their chemical make-up for offender profiling purposes.
Melanie J. Bailey, Catia Costa

2. End User Commentary on Mass Spectrometry Methods for the Recovery of Forensic Intelligence from Fingermarks

The application of advanced analytical techniques to the examination of fingermarks has generated much recent media interest because of the wealth of information that can potentially be obtained from such forensic traces. As one of the few types of trace evidence that can be used to identify an individual, fingermarks remain an important tool in the investigation of crime, and still account for appreciably more criminal identifications worldwide than DNA. Because fingermarks have been used for more than 100 years, it may be thought that there are few advances that can be made in the field. However, the potential to go beyond the use of fingermarks for identification and to add contextual information to an investigation is why advanced analytical techniques have become of such interest.
Stephen Mark Bleay

3. Novel Technological Applications for Latent and Blood-Stained Fingermark Aging Studies

At the present time, there are no standard methodologies to reliably determine the age of (latent) fingermarks recovered from crime scenes. Estimating the time of deposition of this type of evidence is a complex challenge that remains scientifically unsolved in the forensic domain. This chapter addresses the effort to investigate and evaluate the age of fingermarks, and answer the question: how much information can “imaging technologies” provide on fingermark aging? The objective is to introduce the reader to novel applications of existing technologies—Optical Profilometry (OP) and visible wavelength Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI)—that can visualize and record variations in the topography of ridges and follow spectral changes in blood-stained fingermarks, respectively. OP has been typically used for the 3D analysis of surface roughness of materials; whereas HSI has been previously used to detect and identify blood stains in a forensic context and estimate their age in laboratory settings. These non-destructive, contactless, imaging technologies eliminate the need for manipulating friction ridge skin impressions and minimizing sample destruction. Most importantly, they allow the simultaneous collection of qualitative and quantitative data that can be analyzed using spatio-temporal statistical models to investigate the mechanisms involved in ridge degradation. OP and HSI, among other technologies, are establishing new foundational research to integrate the age variable in future fingermark examination flowcharts. This inclusion could potentially reduce identification errors that are caused by time inconsistencies between the evidence discovered and the crime committed, as well as maximize the use of resources by decreasing the number of traces to be processed.
Josep De Alcaraz-Fossoul, Meez Islam

4. End User Commentary on Novel Technological Applications for Latent and Blood-Stained Fingermark Aging Studies

As a matter of fact, since last century, forensic science borrowed technologies and methods from other scientific disciplines. In principle, this consolidated attitude has not to be regarded with a negative perspective. Being part of the broad science community should help forensic science to be more actively engaged with scientific methodologies and principles, as recommended by PCAST report: “Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods”. Unfortunately, the trend over the decades in fingerprint science was to use these methods and principles, as formulated in the last century, in the daily routine, resulting in subjective assumptions without the necessary support of robust and reliable data.
Aldo Mattei

5. Bioanalytical Advancements in the Reliable Visualization and Discrimination of Bodily Fluids

Body fluids are an important form of biological trace evidence that can be used to substantially inform many aspects of criminal investigations; fluids such as blood, semen, and saliva can provide investigators with more information about the specific nature of an offence and associate individuals with a crime via DNA profiling. However, many of the techniques currently used to locate and identify body fluids left at crime scenes suffer from low specificity, sample destruction and lengthy operation times. As a result, many members of the forensic and academic communities are working together towards the development of new rapid, sensitive and specific body fluid analysis methods. This chapter initially provides an overview of the fluid detection and attribution strategies currently employed within routine forensic casework and their associated weaknesses. Next, a selection of spectroscopic and molecular techniques that show the most promise as replacements for traditional fluid testing strategies, along with the merits and limitations of each method, are described.
James Gooch, Alvaro Varela Morillas, Nunzianda Frascione

6. End User Commentary on Bioanalytical Advancements in the Reliable Visualization and Discrimination of Bodily Fluids

With the increasing sensitivity of DNA analytical methods such as DNA17 and DNA24, and the implementation of advanced software to help interpret complex mixtures of DNA from multiple persons, forensic science has never been better placed to address the ‘who’. However the challenge now for the forensic practitioner is that the sensitivity of DNA analysis is so great that it far outstrips the capability of the more rudimentary methods that identify the ‘what’. The screening methods used to initially search a crime scene or items at the laboratory so that stains can be visualised, and the subsequent tests used to confirm the body fluid type in the stains, have in many ways not evolved significantly over several decades. As the authors describe, current searching methods rely heavily on meticulous visual searching of the crime scene or items in the laboratory, supplemented by low magnification stereomicroscopy and alternative light sources, to identify stains that can then be tested chemically or microscopically to confirm the body fluid. Where the stains are more visually challenging to find, the tests instead rely on chemical screening methods that involve directly spraying chemicals on the suspect surface (for example a carpet or item of clothing), or chemically testing filter paper that has been speculatively rubbed over or blotted onto a garment.
Chris Gannicliffe

7. Investigating the Age of Blood Traces: How Close Are We to Finding the Holy Grail of Forensic Science?

Blood traces found at crime scenes often comprise pivotal information regarding the events and individuals associated with the crime. Nowadays, even minute amounts of blood allow retrieval of a whole host of such ‘profiling’ information: e.g. diet, life style, age, gender. However, establishing any forensic value of such traces necessitates a veritable connection to a crime. The age of a blood trace, i.e. the time of its deposition, is crucial in this effort. This far-reaching forensic implication as well as the lack of currently validated and accepted trace dating methods, render blood stain age estimation the holy grail of forensic science. In its pursuit, several methods which determine the time since deposition of blood traces by probing different aspects of the trace degradation process have been proposed and explored. The present chapter collates and discusses current research investigating some of these blood trace ageing methods and their practical application in three categories. The first category comprises techniques which require trace sampling and consume these samples in their entirety during the analysis process. Similarly, the techniques in the second category require sampling of the blood trace but leave the sample intact for further analysis. Lastly, the third group of methods requires neither sampling nor contact. This, in turn, allows in situ analysis of the trace in question. The following operational aspects pertaining to these three categories are discussed in more detail: (i) required sample preparation, (ii) practical implementation and (iii) necessary operational skills. These aspects largely determine the suitability for forensic practice. Technology maturity (i.e. practical applicability) is quantified using the Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) as defined by the NASA/Airspace systems.
Maurice Aalders, Leah Wilk

8. End User Commentary on Investigating the Age of Blood Traces: How Close Are We to Finding the Holy Grail of Forensic Science?

Despite significant efforts over the past decades, the forensic practitioner’s quest to establish when a blood stain was deposited, and therefore whether it might relate to the offence, has remained elusive. In an age where DNA analysis continues to garner the attention, it is often overlooked that there are many instances where establishing who shed the blood stain is not necessarily the critical issue. For example, if a victim was known to the assailant, and particularly if there was a history of violence between the individuals concerned, then there is often a need to show that the blood matching the victim is not the result of some previous incident. It is not uncommon for the examination of a crime scene to find blood stains of assorted ages, the results of previous violent altercations between householders over the years, presenting the challenge of distinguishing between those blood stains which relate to the offence and those which are historic.
Chris Gannicliffe

9. Recent Technological Developments in MALDI-MSI Based Hair Analysis

Hair is a common piece of trace evidence found at a crime scene, however, often it is not possible to obtain DNA (due to the lack of a follicular root). These hair samples could potentially provide other intelligence, based on the molecular history of an individual that it contains. Currently, this type of analysis is performed using traditional hyphenated techniques gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). However, these techniques require a large amount of hair, not a few single strands such as those typically found at a crime scene and also involve extensive sample preparation. Recently new technologies such as matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-mass spectrometry imaging (MALDI-MSI) have been used to monitor the distribution of drugs of abuse in single hair strands. Using this technology it is possible to reveal the distribution of compounds in the hair more accurately and in single strands as opposed to milligram quantities required by traditional hyphenated methods. The use of MALDI-MSI could provide law enforcement agencies with lifestyle information on an individual and help to narrow down the pool of suspects.
Bryn Flinders, Tom Bassindale, Ron M. A. Heeren

10. End User Commentary on Recent Technological Developments in MALDI-MSI Based Hair Analysis

In recent years, significant technical developments in hair analysis have been made. One of the most significant ones is the introduction of MALDI-MSI in hair analysis. Since the publication of Vogliardi et al. in 2009 on the fast detection of cocaine and metabolites in hair, research articles using MALDI analysis on hair boomed. There are several reasons for the great interest of the forensic hair analysis community in this technique, particularly for the easy and fast acquisition of detailed timeline information on multiple compounds incorporated in hair. Moreover, this can be achieved on a single hair sample, which was never shown before in chemical compound analysis (drugs and medicines).
Eva Cuypers

11. Emerging Approaches in the Analysis of Inks on Questioned Documents

Questioned document is one of the oldest fields of examination reported in forensic science. Documents are used as physical (nowadays sometimes virtual) traces of human transactions, thus questioning, falsification and counterfeiting certainly have existed since their invention and routine use. This is also the case for biblical texts and art pieces for which authenticity and authorship are often disputed. While mainly handwriting comparison was reported in early works, the composition and characteristics of inks on paper were often briefly discussed (see for example the early works of Demelle or Raveneau in the XVIIe).  Since then, many technological developments have impacted questioned document examination, both with regard to the ink and paper production, as well as to the writing instruments or printing techniques. Nowadays, further progress have changed the world of (questioned) documents, through the introduction of virtual documents using electronic signatures and security documents such as passports using mixed physical and digital biometric data. Thus, the document examiner’ expertise has to quickly evolve and adapt to such developments, sometimes necessitating the combination of skills from different disciplines not always co-existing in forensic laboratories (such as chemistry, physics, statistics, engineering, material science, computer science). After a brief overview of the historical development in both ink formulation and analysis, this chapter will investigate the relevance of rapidly evolving technologies for application to the examination of questioned documents in a forensic perspective.
Céline Weyermann, Korn-usa Techabowornkiat

12. End User Commentary on Emerging Approaches in the Analysis of Inks on Questioned Documents

Forensic analysis of inks in a police laboratory aims to clarify for judicial or civil purposes: (a) whether a document has been tampered; (b) the correlation between documents; (c) the correlation between a document and a writing instrument and (d) the correlation between a document and a printing device. To this end, the study, analysis and investigation of the documents’ inks are used in order to address the questions formulated by the criminal investigation or by the court, thus contributing to the resolution of crimes associated with the falsification and counterfeiting of documents such as mockery, forgery of documents, fraud or threats. The forensic analysis of documents in this context encompasses not only the analysis of inks but also the characterization, identification and differentiation of various materials such as paper, glues, coatings, laminates, waxes, amongst others, for which it is necessary to use the traditional imaging techniques and advanced analytical methodologies.
Ana Cristina Almeida Assis

13. Advances in Analysis of Gunshot Residue

Analysis of gunshot residue (GSR), produced by the discharge of a firearm, can assist in the association of a suspect with a crime and in the reconstruction of the sequence of events preceding the crime. The golden standard in the analysis of GSR is scanning electron microscope equipped with a detector for the X-ray emission (SEM/EDX). SEM/EDX allows automatic detection of particles containing heavy elements (such as GSR), imaging of particles detected and chemical analysis by EDX. Toxicological and environmental concerns led ammunition manufacturing towards products not containing Pb and other heavy metals. For SEM/EDX it is difficult to characterise the particles from lead-free ammunition and particles from heavy metal free (HMF) cartridges are impossible to be automatically detected. Possible new alternatives could be electron backscattered diffraction detectors (EBSD), ion beam analysis (IBA), time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), Raman chemical maps, attenuated total reflectance (ATR) imaging and FTIR spectroscopy or, to a lesser extent due to lack of imaging capabilities, chromatography and mass spectrometry. The evaluation of the time since the last discharge is another interesting forensic problem associated to GSR, needing further research for routine application in casework.
Francesco Saverio Romolo

14. End User Commentary on Advances in Analysis of Gunshot Residue

The field of gunshot residues (GSR) analysis can be divided in two main subfields namely (i) GSR identification on pieces of evidence related to suspects and (ii) GSR identification relating to targets (e.g. victims) mainly for shooting distance determination.
Sébastien Charles

15. Advances in the Analysis of Explosives

During last decades, the forensic opportunity to detect and identify explosives became more and more important both to protect the safety of citizens and to support the investigations against terrorists and organised crime. The analytical chemistry of explosives has a long tradition of spot test and more traditional approaches, such as chromatography, but has also new tools, such as electro-optical ones, allowing both point detection and remote sensing. In this chapter, four spectroscopic laser based techniques are presented highlighting working principles and capabilities in discriminating explosive compounds at trace level, in field operation, locally or remotely. For each techniques, the detection limits and drawbacks are reported in the application to trace sensing. Such electro-optics tools do not aim to replace the traditional laboratory methods, rather to support them in security applications and in narrowing the area under investigation, reducing the number of samples selected for laboratory analysis. More traditional approaches are then presented and discussed to illustrate the latest development with respect to on-site testing, sampling and analysis by chromatography, electrophoresis and mass spectrometry.
Francesco Saverio Romolo, Antonio Palucci

16. End User Commentary on Advances in the Analysis of Explosives

Clearly the terrorist’s attacks in France in 2015 and Belgium in 2016 is still in everybody’s minds. In these attacks over a hundred people were killed and many hundreds have been injured. In addition to the loss of many lives, this has also been considered the worst case possible involving explosives, from the forensic point of view.
Wolfgang Greibl

17. The Application of Forensic Soil Science in Case Work and Legal Considerations

Forensic soil science is now an accepted discipline in many nations worldwide such as the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Russia, Italy, Japan and the USA. Other nations are adopting the approach suitable for their own types of soils, crimes and land cover. There are a range of methods which can be used, with new methods being researched, developed and tested all the time. This chapter will not discuss the specific analytical methods used but instead outlines suggested strategies for examination and analysis and the presentation and communication of these results in court. The methods adopted for analysis in case work will often depend on the case in question, the examiner, the soil type and the individual country and legal system involved. Forensic soil science application can in general be divided into two main areas: (1) for intelligence gathering, such as providing information on search and narrowing down areas of interest, or in crime reconstruction and (2) for trace evidence comparison, evidence provision, evaluation of data and presentation in court. As the area of forensic soil science is relatively well established, this chapter concentrates on legal aspects of the use, acceptance and application of new methods, particularly acceptance and admissibility in court.
Lorna Dawson, David Parratt, Derek Auchie

18. End User Commentary on The Application of Forensic Soil Science in Case Work and Legal Considerations

This chapter by Dawson, Parratt and Auchie covers the application of soil science in forensic case work and presents a full discussion of the use of soil traces in criminal law enforcement. It describes the legal context one has to be aware of, the many characteristics of soil that can be examined, and the presentation of the obtained results in reports and courts in the UK with its common law and adversarial legal system. This chapter showcases what has been achieved in the development of approaches and methods used in forensic soil science up to the current times. It discusses some anticipated or desired future developments, including outlining the necessary considerations for use of such new approaches in case work. It importantly outlines the main legal aspects, of relevance for any novel approach or new method of analysis being tested and validated for use in case work, as described in this and the other chapters of the book.
Lida van den Eijkel

19. End User Commentary on The Application of Forensic Soil Science in Case Work and Legal Considerations

Over the past 30 years, the investigation of homicide and other serious crimes has become a far more complex, challenging and specialist arena. In that time, strong and enduring relationships have been forged between those working in law enforcement and Forensic Science.
Patrick Campbell


Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner


    Die im Laufe eines Jahres in der „adhäsion“ veröffentlichten Marktübersichten helfen Anwendern verschiedenster Branchen, sich einen gezielten Überblick über Lieferantenangebote zu verschaffen.