This review attempts to capture the trends, motivating forces, and likely impact of developing areas of forensic mass spectrometry, with the caveat that none of this research is likely to have any real impact in the forensic community unless: (a) The instruments developed are turned into robust black boxes with red and green lights for positives and negatives, respectively, or (b) there are PhD graduates in the workforce who can help adopt these sophisticated techniques.
Developments in forensic mass spectrometry tend to follow, rather than lead, the developments in other disciplines. Examples of techniques having forensic potential born independently of forensic applications include ambient ionization, imaging mass spectrometry, isotope ratio mass spectrometry, portable mass spectrometers, and hyphenated chromatography–mass spectrometry instruments, to name a few. Forensic science has the potential to benefit enormously from developments that are funded by other means, if only the infrastructure and personnel existed to adopt, validate, and implement the new technologies into casework. Perhaps one unique area in which forensic science is at the cutting edge is in the area of chemometrics and the determination of likelihood ratios for the evaluation of the weight of evidence. Such statistical techniques have been developed most extensively for ignitable-liquid residue analyses and isotope ratio analysis. (Publisher abstract modified)
Date Published: July 1, 2015