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Proceedings Paper

Forensic Scanning Electron Microscope
Author(s): R. H. Keeley
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Paper Abstract

The scanning electron microscope equipped with an x-ray spectrometer is a versatile instrument which has many uses in the investigation of crime and preparation of scientific evidence for the courts. Major applications include microscopy and analysis of very small fragments of paint, glass and other materials which may link an individual with a scene of crime, identification of firearms residues and examination of questioned documents. Although simultaneous observation and chemical analysis of the sample is the most important feature of the instrument, other modes of operation such as cathodoluminescence spectrometry, backscattered electron imaging and direct x-ray excitation are also exploited. Marks on two bullets or cartridge cases can be compared directly by sequential scanning with a single beam or electronic linkage of two instruments. Particles of primer residue deposited on the skin and clothing when a gun is fired can be collected on adhesive tape and identified by their morphology and elemental composition. It is also possible to differentiate between the primer residues of different types of ammunition. Bullets may be identified from the small fragments left behind as they pass through the body tissues. In the examination of questioned documents the scanning electron microscope is used to establish the order in which two intersecting ink lines were written and to detect traces of chemical markers added to the security inks on official documents.

Paper Details

Date Published: 29 March 1983
PDF: 2 pages
Proc. SPIE 0368, Microscopy: Techniques and Capabilities, (29 March 1983); doi: 10.1117/12.934324
Show Author Affiliations
R. H. Keeley, Metropolitan Police Forensic Science Laboratory (England)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0368:
Microscopy: Techniques and Capabilities
Lionel R. Baker, Editor(s)

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