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Proceedings Paper

Enhancing forensic science with spectroscopic imaging
Author(s): Camilla Ricci; Sergei G. Kazarian
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Paper Abstract

This presentation outlines the research we are developing in the area of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopic imaging with the focus on materials of forensic interest. FTIR spectroscopic imaging has recently emerged as a powerful tool for characterisation of heterogeneous materials. FTIR imaging relies on the ability of the military-developed infrared array detector to simultaneously measure spectra from thousands of different locations in a sample. Recently developed application of FTIR imaging using an ATR (Attenuated Total Reflection) mode has demonstrated the ability of this method to achieve spatial resolution beyond the diffraction limit of infrared light in air. Chemical visualisation with enhanced spatial resolution in micro-ATR mode broadens the range of materials studied with FTIR imaging with applications to pharmaceutical formulations or biological samples. Macro-ATR imaging has also been developed for chemical imaging analysis of large surface area samples and was applied to analyse the surface of human skin (e.g. finger), counterfeit tablets, textile materials (clothing), etc. This approach demonstrated the ability of this imaging method to detect trace materials attached to the surface of the skin. This may also prove as a valuable tool in detection of traces of explosives left or trapped on the surfaces of different materials. This FTIR imaging method is substantially superior to many of the other imaging methods due to inherent chemical specificity of infrared spectroscopy and fast acquisition times of this technique. Our preliminary data demonstrated that this methodology will provide the means to non-destructive detection method that could relate evidence to its source. This will be important in a wider crime prevention programme. In summary, intrinsic chemical specificity and enhanced visualising capability of FTIR spectroscopic imaging open a window of opportunities for counter-terrorism and crime-fighting, with applications ranging from analysis of trace evidence (e.g. in soil), tablets, drugs, fibres, tape explosives, biological samples to detection of gunshot residues and imaging of fingerprints.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 September 2006
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 6402, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting II, 64020J (28 September 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.689429
Show Author Affiliations
Camilla Ricci, Imperial College London (United Kingdom)
Sergei G. Kazarian, Imperial College London (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6402:
Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism and Crime Fighting II
Colin Lewis; Gari P. Owen, Editor(s)

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