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Chemical Analysis

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In 1851, Belgian chemist J.S Stas was the first to submit his chemical analysis data in court, which became the beginning of forensic chemistry. Forensic chemistry is applying chemistry knowledge as a collective whole and is providing logical and significant information for judicial decisions based on observation and experiments. It is a part of applied chemistry that analyzes evidence for their chemical properties, components and specific impurities from their synthetic routes. The development of analytical and optical instruments led to a stellar advancement in forensic chemistry.

The Forensic Analysis Division is using chemical methods to analyze evidence from various crime cases, e.g. terrorism, threat, gas poisoning, explosion, DUI related accidents and environment related crimes. This provides data that assist in reconstructing the crime, prevent future cases and ultimately form the basis for a fair trial.

The conclusions from the analysis and the analytical methods themselves have to satisfy the legal and scientific needs of the police and prosecutor. Based on principles, physical examination of unknown samples is performed by microscopy and further confirmatory tests are conducted by methods ranging from general experiments to separation tests such as chromatography and other special equipments e.g. IR, GC/MS, XRD, XRF, or Raman. Quantitative tests are performed as needed. If the evidence has to be preserved, reanalysis is required or sample amount is too little, nondestructive analysis tests are conducted. Outline of event, case reports, statements are also taken into account if necessary.

The Forensic Analysis Division is constituted of the Trace Evidence Section, where trace evidence is analyzed and researched, the Chemical Profiling Section, where chemical fingerprints and isotope analysis are used to investigate crime and determine geographical origin, the Blood Alcohol/Hazardous Chemicals Section, where blood alcohol, chemicals, pollutants are analyzed and the Flammables Section, where ignitable materials from fire debris, hazardous gas, illegally mixed petroleum etc. is analyzed and researched.

Chemical Profiling Section

Chemical fingerprint analysis Every product has a unique chemical fingerprint depending on the ratio and constitution of their stable isotopes that come from the its ingredients and the environment it was manufactured in. Such fingerprints are used to compare industrial products such as paint, tape, clothes etc and track their origin. It is also used in authenticating diamonds, gold, silver and other jewelry. Ink, toner, paper, inkpad are used to determine document forgery. The chemical fingerprint of soil is analyzed in cases of theft of agricultural products or abandoned bodies.

Database establishment and information tracking The Chemical Profiling Lab has established a database for glass, soil, tape etc and is using it to identify the type and use of glass, tracking the geographical origin of ginseng by comparing stable isotope ratios that differ from region to region. The lab is also actively investigating methods to retrieve information from hair without follicle, which cannot be used for DNA analysis, to identify sex, habits, residential history, occupation etc by analysing trace elements in hair.

u-XRF for multi-element analysis

XRD for mineral and metal analysis

LAICPMS soilpolar
LA-ICP-MS for multi trace element analysis

Soil under polarization microscope

IR-MS for stable isotope analysis

Trace Evidence Section

Analysis, comparison and research of trace evidence The Trace Evidence Lab identifies and compares tiny pieces of evidence such as fibers, plastic, paint, foreign objects etc that were transferred during a crime. Trace evidence is too small to be distinguished with the bare eye and needs to be analyzed with state-of-art equipment. By taking advantage of such technology, the lab is able to identify compounds, determine their authenticity and thereby support solving cases. The lab has a variety of microscopes (stereoscopes, high-resolution microscopes, polarization microscopes) and is also equipped with FT-IR, MSP and Raman for more precise and accurate analysis. The collected data assist in reconstructing the case and are used for comparing evidence, thereby playing a crucial role in criminal investigations.

Analysis of condom traces in sexual assault cases Evidence from sexual assault cases are analyzed for condom components to prove sexual interaction if DNA analysis cannot be performed.

Database establishment for trace evidence analysis The lab conducts research to establish standard examination protocols for various kinds of trace evidence and has established a database for various industrial products. The lab is constantly updating and expanding this database by collecting standard products for comparison.

microscope evidence
Analysis of trace Evidence with microscope

polar fiber_and_hair

Morphological analysis of trace Evidence with polarization microscope

IRspec spectrum
Compound analysis of trace Evidence using FT-IR

Raman Ramanspec
Compound analysis of trace Evidence using Raman spectroscopy

polar_condom condom_starch
Polarization microscope Analysis of condom

Blood Alcohol Section

Analysis of blood alcohol from drunk driving and related accidents
It is an important role of the Blood Alcohol Lab to accurately assess blood alcohol levels since this number can lead to greatly different decisions in court if an accident involving drunk driving has happened.

Reportedly, almost 90% of hospitals that collect blood for analysis use 75% alcohol gauze for disinfection right before collection which can lead to contamination of the blood sample. Therefore, the lab has developed and patented a blood collection kit to avoid these issues. The commercialization of this kit prevents contamination and coagulation that can occur during the transportation and storage of the sample.

Drunk driving incidents are on the rise, despite the enforcement of check points and consistent education. Due to the exponentially increasing amount of samples that have to be analyzed regularly the lab has established an automated blood alcohol analysis sample preparation system. This has not only improved the lab��s environment, but also made it possible to pro-actively meet such needs in a timely and accurate manner.

Determination of postmortem blood alcohol concentration and chronic diseases
The lab analyzes postmortem alcohol concentrations in blood and other tissues. The Blood Alcohol Lab analyzes ketone bodies which are indicators of chronic alcoholism, diabetes etc and assists in determining the cause of death.

autoprep HEADSPACE
Automated blood alcohol analysis sample preparation system

Headspace gas chromatography

Blood collection kit

Standard Set for blood alcohol analysis

Hazardous Chemicals Section

Analysis of heavy metal and acid/base chemicals
The Hazardous Chemicals Lab analyzes water, soil and waste samples for heavy metals and other hazardous materials to assess pollution of an area.

The lab investigates illegal leakage and spraying of chemicals and analyzes biological samples to assess the abuse of or poisoning with chemicals in suicide or murder cases.

Analysis of pollutants
The lab analyzes waste water, trash and agricultural products to track back the cause and origin of illegally discharged waste water, littering, crop damage, marine damage etc.

Postmortem analysis
Postmortem blood and tissue analysis in fire or suicide cases is performed to measure the hemoglobin-carbon monoxide concentration and distinguish suicide and murder.

Pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectrometer

Ion Chromatography

Blood Hb-CO level detector

Flammables Section

Analysis and evaluation of volatiles from fire accidents
The lab analyzes fire debris around the ignition source for flammables and examines whether it was due to arson and analyzes clothes, shoes, hands etc of arsonists for remaining flammables, carbides or traces of melting, which are specific marks in fire. The shape and composition of evidence is examined to evaluate whether the fire was set by natural causes and how it occurred. Decomposition products of polymers from fire are also analyzed and assessed.

Analysis of fuel components of illegally mixed petroleum products
The lab analyzes fuel samples in order to distinguish commercial petroleum products from illegally mixed products and assesses alternative fuel for petroleum.

Analysis and assessment of chemicals from accidents at chemical factories
The gas analysis lab analyzes and assesses the cause of fire or explosion during chemical processes, and performs prompt field analysis in case of chemical leakage.

Analysis and evaluation of hazardous chemicals from gas poisoning accidents
Analysis and evaluation of gas is also performed to determine the cause of accidents involving hazardous gas due to negligence. The lab also identifies gas in gas poisoning or suicide cases.


GC/MS with autosampler

Collecting volatile

Tedler bag

Flammables absorbent kit