This awardee has received supplemental funding. This award detail page includes information about both the original award and supplemental awards.
Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2003, $136,627)
Small amounts of materials that transfer from a person to a crime scene, a scene to a person, or between two people or objects have been shown to provide for excellent trace evidence. Fiber, paint, and glass are commonly encountered as trace evidence. The principal investigator previously investigated the use of elemental analysis of glass fragments by ICP-MS using a solution analysis technique. While ICP-MS was shown to be a highly discriminatory and powerful method, the complexity of the sample preparation step precluded its adoption into forensic laboratories. However, the incorporation of a laser ablation solid sampling accessory as a replacement for solution analysis significantly reduces the complexity and time needed for the sample preparation step. A limited number of studies using laser ablation in conjunction with ICP-MS have been reported in the literature. A standard methodology prescribing the optimal parameters does not currently exist. This proposal aims to develop and validate a standard laser ablation ICP-MS method for the examination of glass and paint evidence.
The overall goal of this project is to develop, optimize, and validate LA-ICP-MS for the examination of glass and paint evidence. The initial phase of the project focused on: optimization of the assay parameters for glass analysis, determination of the discriminatory power in glass analysis and comparisons, application of statistical protocols to LA-ICP-MS in glass analysis, determination of the best elemental menu for paint analysis, and determination of detection limits for the elemental menu of paint samples. The goal of this award is to further optimize LA-ICP-MS for paint analysis, to examine the discriminatory power of LA-ICP-MS as compared to other techniques, and to develop a strategy to analyze paint smears and determine if environmental effects on paint can be used to distinguish among paint samples from the same source. A workshop is also planned to facilitate the transfer of this technology to practicing forensic scientists.