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Landscape Study of Alternate Light Sources

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2018
44 pages

This "landscape" study of alternate light sources (ALS) for crime-scene processing and laboratory applications relied on market participants, their products, and product features, to enable end users to make informed purchasing decisions.


The study is based on input from industry, law enforcement, forensic science, and other criminal justice communities. The ALS examples featured in this report emit light in the visible ad ultraviolet (UV) region of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. These sources cause certain materials to fluoresce, which improves the ability of investigators to visualize specific evidence during searches and examinations in the field and laboratory. Evidence illuminated by these light sources can be visualized by using an appropriate barrier filter or be documented using a standard digital camera equipped with an appropriate filter. This report provides background information on ALS, the available products and manufacturers, and applications for which this technology can be used. Input is provided from current users to inform potential adopters about implementation considerations for ALS, including device performance, applications, and education. The features and capabilities of ALS instruments are compared; and cases are provided to illustrate the successful adoption of ALS technology. This report also identifies important considerations for those making ALS purchasing decisions for either field or laboratory settings. These ALS applications represent scenarios in which ALS is most commonly used, based on interviews with field experts. 9 tables and 6 figures

Date Published: January 1, 2018