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Electronic Imaging & Signal Processing

Scanning electron microscope for gunshot residue analysis


FEI Company recently announced the release of two dedicated scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) and a new software package for automated analysis of gunshot residues (GSR). Forensic scientists use GSR analysis to match residues from victims and suspects. The new GSR S50 and GSR F50 SEMs include the newly-released MagnumTM GSR software and specially-modified hardware to provide fully-automated analysis with dramatic improvements in speed, accuracy and affordability.

GSR analysis uses high-resolution SEM imaging to locate residue particles, and X-ray spectrometry to determine their elemental composition. The GSR S50's ability to image uncoated samples in low vacuum mode helps preserve sample integrity. The GSR F50's field emission source delivers higher spatial resolution and puts more beam current into a smaller spot for faster, more precise X-ray analysis.

The new Magnum GSR software, included in both systems, uses the SEM's native imaging capabilities to locate particles, which is a much faster method than the conventional approach that uses the X-ray system to control the particle imaging and detection process. A specially-designed beam current booster (BCB) increases beam current during X-ray data acquisition to improve the speed and precision of the analysis. To help optimize price/performance, both systems are fully compatible with the latest high count rate silicon drift X-ray detectors from Bruker Corporation and EDAX. They also include built-in validation procedures that use the latest standard layouts of the ENFSI proficiency tests.