Crime scene investigation

There is a variety of forensics applications, where isotope analysis is crucial. For example, stable isotope analysis is used to identify drug trafficking routes, to determine whether explosives are of a common origin, as well as locating the country of origin for a given explosive. Stable isotope analysis is also used to trace counterfeit pharmaceuticals and food fraud.

A most recent development within the forensic science is the isotopic analysis of hair strands to identify recent geographic histories of humans, using Sr, O and S isotope variations. For example, it could be possible to identify whether a terrorist suspect had recently been to a particular location from hair analysis.

Especially, the combination of stable isotopes with Sr and Pb isotope ratio analysis of bones and teeth materials has proven to help identifying the geographical place of origin of unidentified living or deceased individuals in forensic police investigations.

The Thermo Scientific™ Delta V™ and 253 Plus™ Gas Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometers combined with the sample preparation units and interfaces from Thermo Scientific like the EA IsoLink, ConFlo IV and GasBench II, are best suited for stable isotope analysis in forensics applications. The Thermo Scientific™ Neptune Plus™ MC-ICPMS in combination with a Laser Ablation system enables our customers to perform in-situ sulphur isotope ratio analysis in various forensic samples, such as hair strands and counterfeit pharmaceuticals. The Thermo Scientific™ Triton Plus™ TIMS is the most accurate and precise instrument for the analysis of Sr and Pb isotope ratios in forensic applications.

Key Applicatons

  • C, O and H Isotope Ratio Analysis of Ethanol
  • Carbon Isotope Ratio Analysis of Carbohydrates in Honey
  • Oxygen Isotope Ratio Analysis of Wine, Fruit Juice and Water
  • C, N and S Isotopes to trace counterfeit pharmaceuticals
  • Pb and Sr Isotope Ratio Analysis to reveal human provenance
  • Lead Isotope Ratio Analysis to resolve shooting incidents