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Proceedings Paper

Electronic aroma detection technology for forensic and law enforcement applications
Author(s): Stacy-Ann Barshick; Wayne H. Griest; Arpad A. Vass
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Paper Abstract

A major problem hindering criminal investigations is the lack of appropriate tools for proper crime scene investigations. Often locating important pieces of evidence means relying on the ability of trained detection canines. Development of analytical technology to uncover and analyze evidence, potentially at the scene, could serve to expedite criminal investigations, searches, and court proceedings. To address this problem, a new technology based on gas sensor arrays was investigated for its applicability to forensic and law enforcement problems. The technology employs an array of sensors that respond to volatile chemical components yielding a characteristic 'fingerprint' pattern representative of the vapor-phase composition of a sample. Sample aromas can be analyzed and identified using artificial neural networks that are trained on known aroma patterns. Several candidate applications based on known technological needs of the forensic and law enforcement communities have been investigated. These applications have included the detection of aromas emanating from cadavers to aid in determining time since death, drug detection for deterring the manufacture, sale, and use of drugs of abuse, and the analysis of fire debris for accelerant identification. The result to date for these applications have been extremely promising and demonstrate the potential applicability of this technology for forensic use.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 February 1997
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2941, Forensic Evidence Analysis and Crime Scene Investigation, (10 February 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.266314
Show Author Affiliations
Stacy-Ann Barshick, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Wayne H. Griest, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)
Arpad A. Vass, Oak Ridge National Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2941:
Forensic Evidence Analysis and Crime Scene Investigation
John Hicks; Peter R. De Forest; Vivian M. Baylor, Editor(s)

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