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Characterization and Classification of Sexual Assault Lubricants using Direct Analysis in Real Time at Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry

Award Information

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Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2016, $324,082)

As submitted by the proposer: Lubricant analysis in sexual assault cases is a recent addition to the forensic science community in comparison to other techniques. Currently, lubricants types cannot be truly identified, but instead their presence can be determined based on the presence of specific components. This type of analysis generally requires that a known sample be submitted in order to determine that the unknown sample potentially came from the known source. To create an additional capability for this type of analysis, this study will identify unique ions that allow the classification of unknown samples in the absence of a known sample. To ensure that unique ions can be identified, samples from six marketing groups along with four sub-marketing groups will be incorporated. Marketing groups are based on the categories the manufacturer uses to market their lubricants to the consumer; however, this does not necessarily equate to a chemical classification. This study will purchase and analyze the following six marketing groups: silicone based, water based, petroleum based, organic/edible, condom, and "other". The "other" group includes samples that are used for the purposes of sexual assault (e.g. lotions, shampoo, etc.) and will be included in this study to determine if they can be classified similarly to the other five groups or as a group all their own. There are four sub-marketing groups included in this study are: flavors, anal aesthetics, "warming/tingling", and "cooling". These samples will be analyzed to identify the most appropriate chemical classes to which they belong. This study will utilize the direct analysis in real-time time of flight mass spectrometry (DART-TOFMS) as a rapid system that can be used for screening and identification of unknown lubricant samples in a forensic laboratory setting. These results will be compared to the traditional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), which are currently used for analysis in forensic laboratories. The ability of the DART-TOFMS to identify lubricant samples based on the classification scheme developed during this study will be compared to GC-MS and FTIR to determine if it is a comparable and/or complimentary technique for unknown lubricant sample analysis. The final results of this project will be used to create a chemical classification scheme similar to others that have been developed for forensic instrumental analysis, such as the classification scheme generated for ignitable liquids identification. Additionally, spectra will be entered into a database that the forensic lubricant community can access for casework analysis . Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 11, 2016