Morphologically-Directed Raman Spectroscopy (MDRS) can be applied to a variety of forensic evidence types such as illicit drugs, counterfeit pharmaceuticals, hoax powders, soils and gunshot residues. It is a novel and reliable tool that enables criminalists to obtain more information from forensic samples than is currently employed for investigations and adjudications.
MDRS combines automated particle imaging and Raman spectroscopy in one instrument. Particle imaging is performed to determine particle size and shape distributions of components in a blended sample. Particle size is an important physical property of particulate samples because it has a direct influence on a variety of material properties such as reactivity or dissolution rate, suspension stability, efficacy of delivery, texture, feel, appearance, flowability, handling, viscosity, packing density and porosity. Although measurement of particle size distributions is routinely carried out across a wide range of industries and is often a critical parameter in the manufacture and analysis of many products and substances, it is not widely used in the forensic sciences.
Raman spectroscopy is a useful technique in forensic science for determining molecular chemistry because it is rapid, reliable, does not require contact with the sample, and is non-destructive. Combining these two analytical techniques allows the individual components present within a blend or mixture to be independently characterized and compared. This presentation will demonstrate how such a tool can be used to gain a better understanding of mixtures across many areas of forensic science, as it is applicable to a range of Raman-active samples.