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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 239051 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Use of Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM/EDS) Methods for the Analysis of Small Particles Adhering to Carpet Fiber Surfaces as a Means to Test Associations of Trace Evidence in a Way That is Independent of Manufactured Characteristics
Author(s): David A. Stoney, Ph.D.; Paul L. Stoney, M.B.A.
Date Published: July 2012
Page Count: 77
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Grant Number: 2010-DN-BX-K244
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This project developed and tested an innovative instrumental trace-evidence approach for the recovery and quantitative analysis of very small particles (VSP) that adhere to carpet fibers.
Abstract: VSP, which can be smaller than conventional trace evidence, are virtually ignored by forensic science. The project developed methods for quantitatively removing VSP from carpet fibers and prepare them for analysis by SEM/EDS (scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive spectroscopy); and it used existing computer-assisted SEM/EDS method for testing whether the resulting VSP profiles are useful in quantitatively associating shed fibers with a source carpet. The study demonstrated the regular occurrence of hundreds to thousands of VSP on individual carpet fibers. The quantity and character of VSP was sufficient to associate fibers with their carpet area of origin. The findings led to a rejection of the hypothesis that there is a strictly quantitative relationship among VSP, as measured using environmental particle profiles. Environmental particle profiles were found to be unsuitable for assessing VSP variability. An alternative method was developed based on target particle types (TPTs) defined by their elemental profiles, which were measured by computer-assisted SEM/EDS. Within-carpet and between-carpet variations showed an approximately even distribution for most TPTs, and between-carpet variations showed a wide range in types and quantities of VSP. The usefulness VSP in linking carpet fiber evidence has been established. There is now an achievable potential to use VSP for independent, quantitative testing of the common origin of carpet fibers. There is a set of follow-up research steps that have been outlined and ready to be undertaken. 34 tables and 32 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Evidence collection; Evidence identification; Forensic sciences; Hair and fiber analysis; Investigative techniques; NIJ final report; Suspect identification; Trace evidence
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