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Vibrational Spectroscopy of Gunshot Residue

NCJ Number
Igor K. Lednev
Date Published
21 pages

This is the Final Summary Overview of a research project with the objective of developing a novel method for the detection, identification, and characterization of gunshot residue (GSR), using Raman spectroscopy.


The research team developed a novel two-step method for detecting and identifying organic GSR (OGSR) and demonstrated the potential for vibrational spectroscopy to link GSR particles to the type of ammunition discharged. The team also validated and tested the reliability of its Raman spectroscopic mapping approach on adhesive tape, establishing that using this method could differentiate between potential false positives known for standard forensic analysis techniques currently used for GSR detection and identification. The team further developed its Raman spectroscopic approach for GSR analysis by determining the optimal excitation wavelength for probing specifically OGSR produced by discharging several types of ammunition. A comparative study was conducted using Raman spectroscopy and attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy for the analysis of individual GSR particles based on ammunition manufacturer organic GSR. The research team anticipates that its novel methodology, when fully developed and implemented in practice, will help forensic scientists to detect, identify, and analyze OGSR, making it a new important type of evidence. Project presentations and publications are listed.