14 November 2006
Burglars beware! A new technique for matching glass fragments recovered from crime scenes has been developed by Dutch Scientists.
The news is reported in the latest edition of The Royal Society of Chemistry's Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry.
Dr Shirly Berends-Montero and a team at the Netherlands Forensic Institute in The Hague used a technique called "laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry" (LA-ICP-MS) to measure trace elements present in the glass shards obtained from the scene of a burglary. Their subsequent analysis revealed the fragments all came from a single source.
Dr Berends-Montero said: "Forensic analysis starts with the sampling step taken by the crime scene investigators. Our work provides these experts with a method for interpreting the evidence."
The technique can be used on tiny quantities of glass with high speed and reliability. And, just as importantly, there is little destruction of the evidence.
As a result, burglars with the tiniest traces of glass from the scene on their person can be linked to the crime.
Dr Berends-Montero said: "Glass is frequently recovered from crime scenes, and because of its nature, it is easily transferred to anyone who has had direct or indirect contact with the crime scene.
"Improved techniques for glass analysis mean more reliable results for use in a court of law."
She added that the technique can be used for analysis other than matching glass fibres.
She said: "Many other materials can be matched by this technique including inks, paper, metals, paint chips drugs, hairs and fibres."
with thanks to Janet Crombie for the original article
S Berends-Montero, W Wiarda, P de Joode and G van der Peijl, J. Anal. At. Spectrom., 2006, 21, 1185
Glass fragments collected from a crime scene can be accurately matched using a mass spectrometry technique, according to forensic scientists in the Netherlands.
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