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Evaluation of ICx Fido® Verdict™ Portable Explosives and Narcotics Identifier - Technology Evaluation

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2010
31 pages
The Forensic Services Chemistry Section of the National Forensic Science Technology Center NFSTC) evaluated the Icx VerdictTM Portable Explosives and Narcotics Identifier, a palm-sized Raman spectrometer currently used by law enforcement, border patrol officers, military personnel, and other first responders to chemically characterize unknown solids, liquids, and powders encountered in field environments.
Among the strengths of the Verdict are its compactness and light weight (less than 1 pound), non-destructive for the sample, virtually no sample preparation, quick availability of results in a format understandable for a non-scientist, a display of up to three results with a correlation of 0.60 or better, ease of operation, ruggedness, and a number of incorporated safety features. Among the Verdict’s limitations are its inability to render accurate or reproducible results in identifying common drugs and diluents, such as cocaine base, MDMA, morphine, codeine, and heroin; neither was it able to deliver accurate or reproducible identification of ignitable liquids. In addition, the compound identified in a mixture did not necessarily correspond with the compound in the highest ratio in the mixture. Also the Verdict does not have built-in mixture-deconvoluting software, so mixtures will not be reported as such. Areas for improvement are outlined in this report. The evaluation included assessments of conformity; reproducibility; mixture sensitivity; specificity; portability; ruggedness; and ease of use, including sample preparation and training requirements. The evaluation also briefly examined the associated EnablerTM software and its library-building capacities. The instrument was evaluated by using samples representative of categories likely to be encountered in a field or first-responder environment. This included controlled substances, common diluents of controlled substances, explosives, common chemicals, and ignitable liquids. Appended tabular data

Date Published: August 1, 2010