Introduction to the Techniques of Forensic Soil Comparison
Skip Palenik, Microtrace
This two-day workshop conducted by Skip Palenik, renowned expert in the field of Forensic Microscopy and Microanalysis, introduces innovative techniques for the examination and interpretation of soil samples and soil comparison evidence. Using a combination of several techniques (including visual and microscopical methods, filtration, ultrasonication, sieving and chemical treatments), soil samples can be separated into useful fractions. You will learn and practice Skip’s modified fractionation techniques to investigate the most distinguishing particles that might ordinarily be overlooked, present in low quantities, or hidden by clay and humic materials. This workshop is unique in that it emphasizes a microscopical approach on the level at which soil is most fundamentally distinct, i.e., on a particle-by-particle basis. Forensic scientists from around the world have verified that the use of these techniques on soil evidence has helped them to identify the original source of an unknown sample in addition to facilitating the process of comparison of known and unknown samples from almost any geographical location.
Techniques and Instrumentation
A Menagerie of Microscopy
Tony Havics, QEPI
The microscopist is often consulted for a variety of answers to ‘‘little’‘ problems. These include identification or evaluation of wood or paper, fibers in air or building products, paint or coatings, rock sections, biological agents or metabolites, etc. These, often times, require more than one technique or type of microscopy. One can utilize several optical techniques such as standard stereoscopic viewing, Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), Hoffman Modulation Contrast (HMC), phase contrast, Nomarski DIC, darkfield, dispersion staining, and light section with assistance from microchemical testing or digital imaging as needed. These may be followed by FTIR, SEM and TEM along with features such as EDS to enhance, supplement, or supplant earlier findings or suppositions.
Imaging with FTIR Microscopy
Kenneth J. Smith, Thermo Electron Corporation
The Continuum microscope integrates a high quality infinity corrected light microscope with FTIR microscopy resulting in a powerful tool for analysis. Atlus software used with the Continuum allows a variety of data collection and manipulation tools. This presentation will highlight imaging and image analysis applications of the Continuum and Atlus software.
Modes of Viewing the Microscope’s Back Focal Plane
Jan Hinsch, Leica Microsystems
The back focal plane of the objective is a diagnostic center of the microscope. For example, the alignment of the light source, the centration of light rings in phase contrast microscopy and the classification of crystals as uniaxial or biaxial, as positive or negative, are revealed here. Depending on the nature of the investigation, one may choose from several modes of changing the view from the microscope’s image plane to the objective back focal plane. This paper discusses the merits of various implementations of back focal plane viewing.
Is There a Signature for WTC Dust?
J.R. Millette, W.L. Turner, Jr., and W.B. Hill, MVA Scientific Consultants
The terrorist attack and collapse of two towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City on September 11, 2001 generated tremendous clouds of dust that settled over a wide area. Four years later, there is still concern over the dust that may be remaining in residences and commercial buildings. The USEPA is considering testing approximately 60,000 New York City buildings for evidence of WTC dust. Numerous samples have been analyzed by polarized light and electron microscopy. However, with the exception of some elongated calcium/sulfur/silicon particles described in our article published in The Microscope in 2002, all the types of particles found in the WTC dusts are associated with building materials or other sources. At this time, no single particle type is considered a signature particle for WTC dust. Several researchers have characterized the components of WTC dust but the effort to determine a WTC dust signature continues.
A Century of Brownian Motion
Brian Ford, Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge
One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein published his leading paper on the phenomenon described in the 1820s by Robert Brown. At Inter Micro 91, Brian recreated Brown’s original experiments, and today he traces the story of the discovery.
The Flatbed Scanner: Useful Beyond Document Work
Jan Hinsch, Leica Microsystems
Field sizes from 0.2 mm to 8mm are the domain of the compound microscope. The stereo microscope can typically deal with field sizes up to 35 mm. For objects larger than that, macro objectives and bellows on SlR style cameras are a logical choice and many digital cameras provide macro capabilities. The purpose of this paper is to show that in some instances the flatbed scanner offers a superior alternative to the macro camera.
Preparation of Clean Cross Sections Using JEOL Cross-Section Polisher (CP)
Natasha Erdman, JEOL USA
The JEOL Cross Section Polisher (CP) is an easy-to-use, sample preparation device for SEM, EPMA, and SAM applications. Soft, hard, and composite samples can be prepared with minimum sample damage, smearing or deformation, so true representation of a cross section is obtained. An argon ion beam mills cross sections in almost any material creating a clean, polished cross section with a large viewing area. This includes difficult-to-polish soft materials such as copper, aluminum, gold, solder, and polymers, as well as difficult-to-cut materials such as ceramic and glass. The high power light microscope allows the user to position a sample to within a few microns of the precise cross section position. During milling, the sample is rocked automatically to avoid creating beam striations on the cross sectioned surface. We will show example applications of this tool for microelectronics, failure analysis, thin films, paper and biological samples.
Microscopy of Solid Solution, Co-Crystallized and Multi-Component Systems
Mike Bayard, Bayard Development
The properties of solid solution, co-crystallized and multi-component materials are usually determined by instrumental methods such as X-ray diffraction, DTA or X-ray fluorescence. As the abundances of one of more of the components in these systems are altered there are, in many instances, corresponding changes in properties that are quickly and easily measurable by optical microscopy. Refractive indices and birefringence can change in ways that allow quite accurate measurement of the amount of one component dissolved or co-crystallized in a matrix of another; with solid solutions there can be a linear relationship between indices and abundance while some co-crystallized materials show distinct step changes. Dispersion staining can be used to determine very small changes in some systems. Schlieren microscopy, when properly implemented in a high viscosity or dilute solvent, can be used to determine the alterations in crystal strain caused by solid solution/co-crystallization. Multi-component systems such as solvates sometimes have internal light scattering properties that can be used to quantify the retained solvent abundance.
Selective Etching of Nylon In Nylon/sPS Fibers for Determination of sPS Morphology
C.G. Barnes, T. G. Pressly, J.M. Warakomski, Dow Chemical Company
A carpet fiber based on a blend of Nylon 6 and Syndiotactic Polystyrene (sPS) possessed the desirable attributes of low luster, improved dye ability, and softness with durability. The unique combination of properties was believed to be the result of the morphology of the dispersed sPS phase, and the changes undergone in the various spinning, drawing, crimping, and heat setting steps. While surface roughness and cross sectional particle dispersions could be obtained using conventional optical and electron microscopies, the three dimensional arrangement of the internal morphology could not be assessed. A method was therefore developed to selectively remove the nylon, allowing direct SEM observation of the sPS phase. This allowed correlations of particle volume, aspect ratio, and diameter with physical properties. The etching method required significantly less time in sample preparation than that for TEM examination.
The Characterization of Carbon Black and Soot Using Transmission Electron Microscopy and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry
Mark Palenik, Microtrace
Particle emissions of soot formed as by-products from the incomplete combustion of organic fuels are a major contributor to air pollution in urban and industrial environments. Combustion products from heating fuels, fireplaces, candles, etc. can be a factor contributing to poor indoor air quality. Both soot and carbon black consist of condensed spheres of carbon less than a micrometer in size. The morphology of soot can differ widely with the type of fuel and conditions of combustion. With a lack of oxygen and lower combustion temperatures, soot can contain a significant amount of unburned hydrocarbons. Carbon black, on the other hand is produced under controlled conditions to produce a product of predetermined properties with little volatile or semi-volatile hydrocarbons. The purpose of the study was to determine if soot and carbon black can be differentiated by morphology and hydrocarbon constituents remaining in them. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was used to compare size ranges of soot particles from various sources to known samples of carbon black. Volatile and semi-volatile hydrocarbons present in the samples were analyzed using gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS).
Identification of Abrasives In Smokeless Tobacco
Sebastian Sparenga, McCrone Research Institute
A review of the literature indicates that smokeless tobacco contains inorganic material that may abrade the gums, lips, and teeth. In these studies, SEM/ EDS analysis provided elemental data for these inorganic particles, but individual grain identification was not performed. The present study demonstrates the usefulness of polarized light microscopy in individual grain identification of a sample of smokeless tobacco, which is commonly referred to as ‘‘dip.’‘ It is rumored that this product contains fiber glass to abrade the gums and lips to quicken nicotine uptake. The presence of fiberglass in smokeless tobacco is investigated.
Evening With Brian: ‘‘Talk the Talk’‘
Brian Ford, Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge
We are in a new era of lecturing, with digital projectors, PowerPoint and the rest. We’ll see what effect they are having on lecturers and how we still have to get to grips with what they offer. Brian’s talk will outline how to get the best from a lecture and will include plenty examples of how NOT to do it!
Environmental and Industrial Microscopy
Applied Aerobiology and Melissopalynology in South Tyrol (Northern Italy) — Realization of a Pollen Atlas
Edith Bucher, Laboratorio Biologico — APPA Bolzano
The Biological Laboratory of the local environmental agency continuously monitors the atmospheric pollen concentrations of the allergenic plants in different sites of the province. The main aim is to characterize the flowering periods, provide information for patients and medicals about the current pollen loads and forecast the specific pollen season of each plant category. In the last ten years, the resulting pollen information service has been continuously improved and quick diffusion of the information has been made possible, after the development of dedicated software, through different channels like internet, newsletter, Teletext and fax. Considering the scarce offer of aeropollinic atlases for light microscopy, an on-line pollen atlas was made available on the web pages of the European Pollen Information Service. The most important airborne pollens can there be visualized, together with a brief description of the pollen and the plant species (384 digital photographs of 98 species). Furthermore, during the last years, a research on local honeys was conducted to define their typical pollen flora. The results of this study, which is now used to certify the geographical origin of local honey samples, were published in a volume also containing a melissopalynological atlas with 660 pollen photographs belonging to 165 different plant species.
Diatom Distribution in the Dansuei River
James Chun-I Lee, University of Strathclyde, UK; Li-Gi Kao, Hsing-Mei Hsieh, Li-Chin Tsai, Central Police University; and Adrian Linacre, National Taiwan University, Taiwan ROC
The presence of diatoms in the bone marrow is clear evidence of drowning. Diatoms, which are ubiquitous in fresh water, provide crucial evidence in criminal investigations and will determine whether a person was breathing at the time of immersion in fresh water. It is clear that there are many different species or varieties of diatoms, which may be related to particular positions within a river or stretch of fresh water. This study screened diatoms at 9 sites on the Danshuei River in Taipei over the course of 12 months. Over 300 individual diatoms were identified in each slide by morphological features using phase contrast and differential interference contrast microscopy. These diatoms were screened to generate a frequency of different species. It was found that there are 45 genera with 241 species observed at the 9 sampling sites. The dominant genera across the 9 sites were Achnanthes (24 species), Navicula (62), Nitzschia (43) and Cymbella (13). The number of species in each genus decreased, especially in genera of Achnanthes, Cymbella, Cyclotella, Gomphonema and Surirella in some sampling sites. Species within the genera Pinnularia, Navicula and Nitzschia were observed to be stable. The fluctuation in number of genera or species was most likely due to pollution. This study established species frequencies of diatoms from 9 sites of the Danshuei River. It can be used as a reference for forensic and environmental assessment purposes.
Applied Polarized Light Microscopy: Reverse Engineering or Industrial Espionage?
Gary Laughlin, McCrone Research Institute
Scientists can examine almost any substance on earth, but many of the properties and secret(?) ingredients are encountered at levels well below the detection limit of the human eye. The polarized light microscope (PLM), unlike any other single piece of equipment, can reveal many of the hidden ingredients found in the air, food, water, and commercial products and other substances that we encounter every day. The PLM continues an age-old struggle to survive in the modern laboratory.
Can Dispersion Aid in Amphibole Differentiation?
Jacqueline Speir, McCrone Research Institute
Dispersed or anomalous extinction is a phenomenon that nearly all microscopists have observed at one point or another. It can be seen in the most mundane places, such as the incomplete extinction of cotton, to the more exotic encounters with explosives like RDX. What is perhaps more interesting is that when novice microscopists are shown just a few examples of the phenomenon, they become very determined to find it everywhere they look. A case in point was the unmistakable observation of dispersed extinction in a sample of fibrous richterite. In addition to the aesthetic quality, preliminary analytical results suggest that this observation could be useful in the differentiation of tremolite from the more elusive richterite. A case example of this will be presented.
Identification of Erionite in Rock Samples
Eric J. Chatfield, Chatfield Technical Consulting Limited
In the mid 1970’s, it was reported that a high incidence of mesothelioma had been discovered in two villages in the central Anatolia region of Turkey. A detailed study concluded that the observed mesotheliomas in these villages were a consequence of exposure to fibrous erionite present in the local environment.
Recently, in the Western part of the U.S., a case of mesothelioma was reported for which there was no apparent exposure to asbestos. There was a possibility that naturally-occurring zeolites such as erionite could be present in the area in which the individual resided. An investigation of soil and rock samples collected near the residence of the victim was carried out, to determine whether fibrous erionite could be detected. The analytical methods, use of reference standards and the characterization of the samples will be described resulting from stress and not Ge migration.
Asbestos: To Be a Fiber or Not to Be
Tony Havics, QEPI, Inc.
The definitions of ‘‘asbestos’‘ and ‘‘fiber’‘ combined, vary within regulatory bodies in the US as well as within the methods used to ‘‘identify’‘ them. Sources for these include EPA NESHAPS, EPA AHERA, EPA Bulk analysis methods, OSHA regulations both mandatory and non-mandatory, OSHA internal methods, NIOSH methods, ASTM methods, ISO Methods, and so on. An in depth look at the similarities and differences between these definitions can be mind boggling to say the least. To appreciate these differences one must become intimately in tune with aspects of epidemiology, theory, practicality and microscopy in an almost perverse fashion. The result is an interwoven matrix of manipulation by those unfamiliar with the origin as well as the usage of the regulations.
The Discovery of Giardia
Brian Ford, Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge
Giardia is a freshwater protozoan parasite that is causing problems in the drinking water industry. We will follow the discovery of the organism and see, for the first time, how clearly Giardia could have been observed by the pioneers.
40 Years of Microscopy Tricks of the Trade
Robert Weaver, Par Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
A review of ‘‘Tricks of the Trade’‘ from The Microscope journal over the past 40 years will be presented.
From Rocks to Bridges: An Introduction to Cement and Concrete Microstructure
Linda M. Hills, CTL Group
Concrete is nearly everywhere we look. But for those not in the ‘‘business,’‘ little is known about the microstructure of concrete’s primary ingredient, cement, and the changes taking place within the microstructure when water is added. Cement is made by first burning ground raw materials, such as limestone, sand, and clay, at around 1480Â°C to form cement clinker. Manufacturing conditions such as raw feed fineness, burning temperature, and cooling rate all influence the microstructure formed within this clinker. Cement powder is made by grinding the clinker and gypsum.
When water is added to cement to make concrete, the cement compounds chemically combine with water (hydrate) to form new compounds. Characteristics of the cement, established during its manufacturing process, influence cement hydration. These hydration reactions in turn influence concrete performance properties such as setting and strength.
Failure Analyses of Construction Materials Using Optical Microscopy
Ann Hagni, CTL Group
Determination of failure mechanisms of construction materials is frequently dependent upon optical microscopy as a forensic tool. Concrete, in particular, has been studied extensively by stereomicroscopy, reflected/transmitted light microscopy, and scanning electron microscopyenergy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS). Raw material aggregates are examined by stereo and transmitted light microscopy to identify deleterious constituents. Clinker is evaluated by reflected light microscopy and SEM-EDS to optimize cement plant processing parameters. Hardened concrete can be examined by microscopic techniques to identify cause(s) of failure, such as freeze-thaw damage, external chemical attack (efflorescence, carbonation, sulfates, corrosion), internal chemical attack (alkalisilica reaction, alkali-carbonate reaction, delayed ettringite formation), and shrinkage/swelling (plastic shrinkage, thermal expansion), in distressed or deteriorated structures. Using oblique illumination with a stereo microscope is the standard technique for determining air void system parameters in concrete, which is a key component in quality concrete. Other construction materials are also examined by microscopy to determine mode of failure, such as aluminum sidings, floorings, and steel structures. Examples will be presented, emphasizing stereomicroscopy and transmitted light microscopy.
Recent Contributions of Chemical Microscopy to the Analysis of Unknowns
Andrew Bowen, Stoney Forensic, Inc.
As frequently espoused by the McCrone Research Institute, the polarized light microscope is an underused analytical tool with the ability to contribute a tremendous amount of information to any chemical analysis. Several recent cases are presented where the microscope made critical contributions to the characterization and identification of unknown materials. Stereomicroscopy and polarized light microscopy provided a rapid assessment of the number of components present in the samples. The individual components could then be isolated either chemically or manually for subsequent analyses. In many cases, the polarized light microscope identified one or more components on sight, providing insight into the nature of the sample and leading directly to the identification of remaining components and ultimately to the identity of the sample as a whole.
Matching Matches (Part 2)
Walter J. Rantanen1, Integrated Paper Services, Inc.; Thomas J. Hopen, ATF Forensic Science Laboratory
At Inter/Micro 2003, Thom Hopen gave a presentation titled ‘‘Matching Matches (Part 1)’‘. He discussed physical and visual characteristics of matches in matchbooks. Mechanical damage observed plus certain techniques for investigating and comparing matches removed from matchbooks were also described in ‘‘Matching Matches (Part 1)’‘, fiber composition, as an additional analytical approach to compare or determine origin of matches from matchbooks, will be discussed. The standard procedures detailed in the TAPPI test methods and in the ASTM standards for fiber analysis can be used for the examination of the matchbooks. This testing will provide identification of the pulping process and species analysis. Providing that other features discussed in Part 1 are comparable, the types of fibers present can show consistency or disprove that a specific match could have come from a specific matchbook.
Chemical and Forensic Microscopy
The Characterization of Microchemical Test Resultant Crystalline Formations Using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) and Raman Spectroscopy
John B. Crowe and Mark R. Witkowski, FDA Forensic Chemistry Center
Traditional microchemical tests have been used as an aid in the identification of materials by microscopists and forensic chemists for decades. Many of these microchemical tests are used at the FDA’s Forensic Chemistry Center (FCC) in the analysis of forensic evidence involving drugs, pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements. It is generally understood in the microscopy community that these types of tests, producing unique crystalline formations, can be quite specific and used for identification. However, some consider microchemical tests as secondary identification tests, since many of the tests involve the same chemical reagent used for a variety of analytes. FTIR and Raman microspectroscopy can be used to demonstrate that, although a single chemical reagent is used for many analytes, the unique crystal formations generated are specific for a given analyte under examination. Squaric acid was used as the microchemical test reagent to determine the cation present for a group of inorganic compounds. The resultant crystals were characterized by PLM. FTIR and Raman spectra were then obtained for each unique crystal type. This paper will present results obtained for a variety of inorganic compounds and discuss the extension of this work to organic compounds such as carboxylic acid salts.
Accidental Death By Bicycle? A Forensic Investigation
Bill Wilson, Cook County Sheriff Forensic Lab
An 11-year-old girl fell off her bicycle on her way to school one morning. An ambulance was called, but the girl was pronounced dead at the scene. The local police decided that the victim had died as a result of the fall from her bike. The evidence was eventually brought to us at Microtrace, and, upon examinations, we were able to come to a different conclusion, based on a thorough analysis of the submitted evidential items. This presentation will demonstrate our findings and a complete reconstruction of the events.
Use of Drop Coated Deposition Raman (DCDR) for Detection of Explosives
Katia Rothhaar, Ph.D., MBA, Tienta Sciences, Indianapolis, IN; Jimmy Oxley, Ph.D., University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI; and Dor Ben-Amotz, Ph.D., Dongmao Zhang, Ph.D., Yong Xie, Ph.D., Corasi Ortiz, and V. Jo Davisson, Ph.D., Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Raman spectroscopy has been previously shown to be useful in the study of explosives. However, one of the problems associated with the study of explosives by Raman spectroscopy is that samples are often too dilute for direct measurements. In our research, we demonstrated that this problem can be overcome by using a hydrophobic substrate and a technique called Drop Coated Deposition Raman (DCDR).
We will present the impressive identification results obtained while studying approximately twenty explosives at a concentration of 1mg/ml, in different solvents. Our results demonstrate that DCDR may be used to obtain high-quality normal (nonenhanced) Raman spectra from small quantities of explosives with high reproducibility.
Fluorescence Excitation Ratiometry: Quantitative Fluorescence Imaging Spectroscopy Utilizting the Human Eye as Sensor
Daniel McGraw, Light Diagnostics, Inc.
Fluorescence Excitation Ratiometry is a new technique for measuring a two-point fluorescence excitation spectrum at every spatial point in the visual field of a stereo microscope. We will describe how the technique exploits the excellent contrast sensitivity of the eye to measure both the fluorescence excitation spectrum and fluorescence yield with a viewer-independant precision better than one percent. Applications in forensics such as questioned document analysis and identification of suspicious white powders will be discussed and reported. Calibration and limits of accuracy and detection imposed by visual optics will be defined and discussed.
Image Directed Microanalysis
John Reffner, Smiths Detection
Initially the infrared microprobe was developed to fill the spectroscopist’s need to analyze submicrogram samples of organic or inorganic covalent bonded materials; today, infrared microprobe analysis has become much more. Combining microscopy with infrared spectroscopy is a unique pairing of microanalysis methods for solid-state characterization of molecular materials. Materials science is centered on relating structure with physical and chemical properties. Microstructure and microanalysis are essential analytical information for materials characterization. Imaging, metrology, and recording are needed to document microstructure; spectral analysis is needed to document chemistry. Electron microbeam analysis dominates studies of the elemental distributions in materials, but this is not a useful technology for molecular materials such as biologicals, drugs, fibers, minerals, and polymers. Integration of image analysis with molecular spectroscopy is a significant advance in infrared microprobe instrumentation. In addition to conventional particle metrology, morphological features are used to direct the infrared analysis of particles. For example, a preparation containing a dispersion of cells is first surveyed and sorted by a size metric (such as diameter/ perimeter ratio) such that only circular cells with specific diameters are ‘‘selected’‘ for spectral analysis. This automation is vitally important when large numbers of spectra of similar objects, are needed for chemometric analysis. Using image analysis to direct the infrared analysis means the essential information is collected from a sample, simplifying analysis.
Flowchart for Rapid Identification of Inorganic Compounds Using PLM
Jeff Hollifield, Micro Analytical
This paper will provide an organized and concise method for the rapid identification of inorganic compounds. This method is presented in the form of a flow chart for samples submitted to the microscopy laboratory. The number of inorganic compounds is enormous, so the compounds included in the flow chart are restricted to those most likely encountered in industrial, forensic, and environmental laboratories, as well as compounds typically found in consumer products. The flow chart is comprised of compounds discussed in selected college-level general chemistry textbooks. These texts were chosen because they present extensive, thorough, and practical information about inorganic compounds, including how they are used in consumer products and industry.
Compounds that appear in the flow chart are arranged with respect to physical properties, optical properties, solubilities, and chemical behavior with various reagents. Most of these properties can be determined using the polarized light microscope. Two specific compounds are used to illustrate the effectiveness of the flow chart.
The World’s Worst Microscopy
Brian J. Ford, Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge
The appalling standards of some microscopical products continue to amaze. Brian has already brought us perhaps the world’s worst manual, and this year he will convince you that standards can be even lower. Please have your examples of disgraceful microscopy ready for future presentations!
A Class in Forensic Microscopy
Randy Boltin, Richard S. Brown and James R. Millette, MVA Scientific Consultants
A class has been developed with the aim of educating practicing members of the legal profession about the underlying principles of microscopy and its use in resolving legal problems. Applications of PLM, SEM, TEM, micro-FTIR and interference microscopy in the resolution of toxic tort, product liability, patent infringement and workplace exposure cases are presented to participants. The importance of proper sampling is stressed.
One goal of the class will be to impart an understanding of the scientific method and the ability to recognize proper applications of the method as well as appropriateness of the resulting interpretations. It is hoped that this course will impress upon attendees the importance of scientific integrity and the necessity of impartiality for scientists who are called to involve themselves with legal analytical problems.
Marine Coatings — Components and Analysis
Gene Lawrence, San Diego County Sheriff’s Crime Lab
Marine coatings do not come up in casework very often, even in a coastal community, so there is not a lot of information available in the forensic community regarding marine paint. I had occasion to work on a case recently involving the disappearance of a commercial shipping vessel. One of the questions asked, was whether a suspicious smear was hull paint or not. In order to answer the question, I needed information about the composition of hull paint. Design, specifications, and composition of marine paints and some techniques for identifying hull paint components will be discussed.
Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism Experts and Forensic Microscopy
Ricky S Grant, 41st CST (WMD) U.S. Army, Active National Guard
The Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team, also known as a CST, is a full time, federally funded National Guard unit established under Presidential Decision Directive 39. Originally designated ‘‘RAID’‘ for Rapid Assessment and Initial Detection, the teams were renamed Civil Support Teams, to emphasize their supporting role to civil authorities. There are a total of 32 certified CST’s in the nation, organized under the 10 FEMA regions. Since its inception, the New York Civil Support Team has survived five years of deployments centered on the continual terrorist threats toward the inhabitants of New York, specifically New York City. Two veteran analysts encompass the analytical or science section in New York and utilize a Polarized Light Microscope to compliment the vast amount of sophisticated analytical equipment to detect Chemical, Biological and Radiological potential Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Several unknown samples are analyzed each year and the light microscope has proven its value many times over. The power of the microscope is undeniable – it’s a complement to every instrument in the mobile laboratory. It helps takes the guesswork out of WMD analysis.
PLM Characterization of Inorganic Constituents in Automobile Body Fillers and Spot Putties
Thomas J. Hopen, ATF Forensic Science Laboratory; Guy Nutter, Micro-Chemistry Unit, Michigan State Police; Natasha Neel, ATF Forensic Science Laboratory
This presentation will focus on the characterization and identification, by PLM, of the inorganic constituents contained in automobile body fillers and spot putties. Previous work on these samples by SEM-EDS and infrared microspectroscopy has been conducted and the results were presented at the Joint Meeting held in Orlando Florida in September 2004 as well as the recent 2005 AAFS meeting in New Orleans. In the first study, 24 body fillers and 9 spot putties were analyzed. From this initial study, 8 body fillers could be individualized with the remaining samples falling into 4 groups and five of the spot putties could be individualized with the remaining samples falling into 2 groups. PLM will now be incorporated into the analysis scheme to characterize, identify and compare the inorganic constituents in an effort to provide further individualization and discrimination between the samples.
The Optical Characterization of TATP — ‘‘The Mother Of Satan’‘
Jack Hietpas, Microtrace; Peter Diaczuk, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Mark Palenik and Skip Palenik, Microtrace
Triacetonetriperoxide (TATP) is an exotic explosive first developed by a German chemist in the late nineteenth century. The explosive has been used in several successful terrorist acts and was used in conjunction with PETN in an attempt to blow-up American Airlines Flight 63 in the infamous ‘‘shoe bomber’‘ case in 2001. This explosive is common among terrorists due to the extreme ease in manufacture and ready availability of ingredients from hardware stores. Because this explosive is chemically much different than the more common explosives (a peroxide versus a nitrated aromatic), identification and detection is problematic. This paper will detail the material’s optical and physical properties.
Determination of Entry vs. Exit Bullet Holes in Garments Using Light Microscopy
Peter J. Diaczuk and Peter R. De Forest , John Jay College of Criminal Justice
The direction from which a bullet originates is sometimes an important factor in crime scene reconstruction. When the muzzle-to-target distance exceeds that which allows the deposition of gunshot residue, lead wipe is often tested for by the use of sodium rhodizonate. Occasional mishandling of the garment or the use of lead-free ammunition can reduce the reliability of this test. A careful examination of the garment using light microscopy can reveal differences in the morphology of entry vs. exit bullet holes. A case study will be cited, in addition to laboratory experiments, to elucidate the difference.
How Aequorin and Green Fluorescent Protein Were Discovered
Dr. Osamu Shimomura, 324 Sippewissett Rd, Falmouth, MA 02540; email@example.com
We discovered aequorin and the green fluorescent protein (GFP) in 1961 from the luminous jellyfish Aequorea. They are unusual proteins; the former emits blue light in the presence of a trace of calcium ions even in the absence of oxygen, and the latter is brilliantly green fluorescent even in the daylight. By then end of the 1970s, we were able to characterize most of the important properties of the two proteins including the chemical structures of their functional chromophores. Helped by the progress in genetic research, both proteins were cloned, apoaequorin in 1985 and GFP in 1992, making it possible to generate them even in live cells. Now both proteins are indispensable research tools, aequorin as a calcium probe and GFP as a maker protein. In retrospect, however, it looks as if my Aequorea project had been programmed by my three mentors for its success. In 1955, a professor of the Nagasaki Pharmacy College, for whom I was working as a teaching assistant, kindly allowed me to do research at the Hirata lab at Nagoya University. Professor Hirata assigned me to do the study of Cypridina luciferin, which eventually gave me the knowledge that is essential to solve the problems of Aequorea. Then, Dr. Frank Johnson invited me to his at Princeton University in 1960, and he gave me the subject of Aequorea to study. The guidancesgiven to me where indeed in exact order for solving the difficult prolems of aequorin and GFP.