U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Success Story: Enabling Forensic Field Testing With Paper Microfluidic Devices

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2019
2 pages
This fact sheet reports on the key benefits and underlying National Institute of Justice (NIJ) research on paper microfluidic devices, which provide police and forensic evidence-collection teams with an easily stored and reliable tool for presumptive testing of unknown materials.
Paper microfluidics is a transformational technology that enables the development of inexpensive analytical devices based on designs printed in wax-based ink on chromatography paper. These devices eliminate the need for bulky and sometimes caustic liquid reagents and are not much larger than a postage stamp. With NIJ support, Dr. Bruce McCord at Florida International University has developed a suite of paper microfluidic devices for forensic residue analysis applications, such as presumptive testing of explosives, serological stains, and detection of seized drugs. These devices have been validated by the Miami Dade Bomb Squad and are currently being explored for commercial forensic applications. Dr. McCord and colleagues are continuing to advance the detection capabilities for drugs and bodily fluids by broadening the range of analyte detection while improving the technique's sensitivity. The McCord group is seeking partners who are interested in field-testing validation and advancing the commercial application of these multiplexed and field-based presumptive tests for crime-scene and laboratory investigators.

Date Published: April 1, 2019