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Hair Today Con Tomorrow

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2002
2 pages
This report describes a scientific technique or procedure being studied to create chemical profiles of hair samples supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), in the identification of criminals.
A technique developed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) by a chemist in 1993 may assist investigators in identifying criminals from hair left behind at crime scenes. NIST uses an adaptation of supercritical fluid extraction (SFE), a procedure similar to that used to decaffeinate coffee, and creates chemical profiles of hair samples. The main goal in the development of this method is to provide additional data from trace evidence hair analysis that could help guide a criminal investigation. By using this technique, researchers can derive a chemical profile from samples as small as one to two segments of hair about 1.5 centimeters in length. The preliminary study results are encouraging. Depending on the results and the utility of the method, the method could be transferred to the FBI and other forensic research laboratories to apply to known hair samples.

Date Published: January 1, 2002