skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 148038 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Author(s): W W Harrison; G G Clemena; J P Yurachek; M A Ryan
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 72
Sponsoring Agency: University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22903
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes the process of spark source mass spectrometry and its application to the analysis of trace evidence in forensic science.
Abstract: The authors first trace the history of the application of mass spectrometers in analytical problems, beginning with the work of J.J. Thomson in 1913. This is followed by a description of the theory of mass spectrometry, which is a technique that produces a beam of gaseous ions from a sample (solid, liquid, or gas), sorts out the resulting mixture of ions according to their mass-to-charge ratios, and provides output signals that are directly proportional to the relative abundance of each ionic species present. A discussion of the advantages of mass spectrometry as a forensic tool focuses on its extreme sensitivity, its response to metals and nonmetals, its uniform sensitivity, and minimal matrix effect. Equipment and experimental conditions are then profiled, followed by discussions of the interpretation of the mass spectrum, precision and reproducibility, and forensic sample problems. A review of the materials studied focuses on considerations in the analysis of hair, nails, and human blood serum. 7 tables and 35 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Hair and fiber analysis; Mass spectroscopy; Metal identification; Trace evidence
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.