2007 MFRC-funded Projects

 

  • Analysis of Automotive Clear Coat Paints by Micro Laser Raman Spectroscopy
    Jay A. Siegel, Indiana University, Purdue University, Indianapolis
    • This proposal requests funds to partially fund the purchase a micro laser Raman Spectrometer which will be used to evaluate the feasibility and discriminating power of Raman Spectrometry in the characterization and analysis of automotive clear coat paints. This represents one phase of an ongoing project in the analysis of clear coats that is being undertaken by the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at IUPUI. The methods being used include Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometry and UV-visible-near infrared Spectrophotometry. The Raman phase of the project will be done partnering with the Indiana State Police Forensic Science Lab.
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  • Testing DNA Samples for Population of Origin
    Raymond D. Miller, Washington University School of Medicine
    • To help field investigators with unidentified DNA samples, we propose to develop and implement a forensic test in the crime laboratories of our collaborators that will give information about the population of origin of the donor of a DNA sample. The test will use available equipment to genotype ancestry informative single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The results will be compared with known population frequencies of self-described ethnic groups in order to narrow the possible ancestry of the sample.
      Final Report
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  • High Speed Digital Video Analysis of Bloodstain Pattern Formation from Common Bloodletting Mechanisms
    Terry L. Laber, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
    • The analysis of bloodstain patterns is used by criminal investigators to draw inferences about the events that gave rise to the formation of the pattern. It is asserted here that an understanding of the dynamics of a blood transfer event is critical to the sound interpretation of the resultant bloodstain pattern. This project proposes a systematic study of the formation of some of the common bloodstain patterns by using a high-speed digital video camera to record the blood transfer as it occurs. It is hoped that the outcome will be a significant contribution to the strengthening of the science underpinning BPA.
      Final Report
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  • Determination of Heavy Metals in Whole Blood using Inductively-Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry
    Joseph R. Wermeling, Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory
    • The forensic investigation of toxicological cases involving acute intoxication, poisoning and death investigations is heavily focused on the analysis of organic and pharmaceutical analytes of interest. The determination of inorganic analytes, especially heavy metals, is often limited to a few metals, using relatively insensitive wet chemical techniques or single-element methods employing atomic absorption or graphite furnace methods. This project addresses the need for the development of rapid, sensitive multi-elemental methods for the analysis of metal toxins in whole blood, which expands the range of inorganic analysis in toxicological investigations.
      Final Report
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  • Spectral Analysis of the 3D fracture surfaces for Enhanced Matching
    Ashraf Bastawros, Iowa State University, and Barbara Lograsso, Michigan Technological University
    • A fractal surface carries sets of unique signatures dictated by the intrinsic material microstructure and the external loading conditions. This proposal combines the basic understanding of fracture mechanics with the practical applications of forensic science to develop testing protocols for improved matching of fractured surfaces. A 3D spectral analysis of the fractural surface will be developed to identify these fractal signatures and show their uniqueness for each fractured specimen. Fracture of metal coupon specimens will be used to generate proof of concept and establish the approach feasibility. Thereafter, its matching ability will be compared against those techniques currently used in forensic labs.
      Final Report
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  • The Temporal Fate of Drugs in Decomposing Tissues
    John Wyman, Franklin County, Ohio Coroner’s Office
    • Interpreting drug concentrations found in decomposed remains is always difficult. Postmortem tissues which are routinely collected and analyzed (blood, urine, vitreous humor), and therefore provide the largest comparative database for interpretation, are frequently lost in the early stages of putrefaction. Consequently, when drugs are found in weathered tissues, there is currently little, or no information, available to help guide the toxicologist, and subsequently the pathologist, in evaluating whether a drug(s) played any significant role in causing the death. This study will follow the fate of sixteen drugs, which commonly cause intoxications, in seven different tissues collected from decomposing pigs.
      Final Report
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  • Evaluation of Portable Raman Analyzer for Testing Drugs
    Susan Gross, Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
    • Large case backlogs can cause slowdowns and delays in the judicial system. Speedy trial demands by the defendant are difficult to maintain with these backlogs. This research project proposes to ease some of the backlog problems by evaluating a portable drug identification system using laser based Raman technology. The evaluation of the Raman StreetLab® will be performed in the laboratory and in the field. By implementing a plan to analyze controlled substances in the field, the laboratory case backlog can be alleviated and the prosecution of controlled substance cases can continue in a timely manner.
      Final Report
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  • Fast Gas Chromatography Capabilities in Arson Debris Analysis
    Charles R. Cornett, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
    • This project assesses the potentially large impact that Fast Gas Chromatography (Fast GC) may have on the determination of ignitable liquids. Forensic Sciences: Review of Status and Needs clearly defines a need for further advances in this field; and current analytical literature appears to support Fast GC as a separation technique capable of comparable resolution to conventional GC in less time per sample. This research compares resolution capabilities of the two techniques in separating a wide range of ignitable liquids in an array of matrices. With sufficient resolution, Fast GC may help clear casework in a timelier manner. 
      Final Report
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  • Optimization of headspace-solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) for organic impurity profiling of illicit MDMA tablets
    Ruth J. Waddell, Michigan State University
    • Organic impurity profiling of illicit synthetic drug tablets aims to identify similarities among tablets. Similar impurity profiles indicate a common production method, and similar levels of the same impurities potentially indicate common production laboratories. In this research, headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME) procedures for the extraction of organic impurities from illicit MDMA ('ecstasy') tablets will be developed and compared with conventional liquid-liquid extraction procedures, in terms of the number and level of impurities extracted. HS-SPME is rapid, requiring no solvent and yielding selective extraction of impurities. Hence, HS-SPME is a promising extraction procedure that offers attractive advantages over conventional procedures.
      Final Report
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  • Ultra-Fast Gradient Elution HPLC as a High Throughput, High Information Content Screening Tool for Drugs of Abuse
    Peter Carr, University of Minnesota
    • In previous work that has yielded two publications, we developed Ultra-Fast Gradient Elution Reversed-Phase HPLC with Diode-Array Detection as a fast (< 4 minutes/run) tool for screening samples for regulated intoxicants. Through a combination of precise retention measurements (±0.002 min. run) and chemometric analysis of the spectro-chromatograms, we significantly improved both the speed and selectivity of older HPLC methods. We propose two further improvements: First, to decrease the error rates and facilitate chemometric analysis, we will run apparent positives on a second nearly orthogonal column. We will test both a unique commercial phase and a novel hydrophobically-assisted cation exchange phase currently under development. Second, to optimize chromatographic resolution, we will use a newly developed general purpose optimization scheme.
      Final Report