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Forensics student working at forensic instrumentation

Research equipment & instrumentation

Agilent GCMS


This GCMS consists of an Agilent 6890 gas chromatograph coupled with an Agilent 5975 inert mass selective detector, and is equipped with a robotic autosampler. This is a research instrument used to separate and identify individual components in mixtures. Resultant spectra are compared to the NIST national library for association to known compounds. Specifically it is used in projects based on ignitable liquids from fire debris. 

Applied Biosystems 3500 Genetic Analyzer


The genetic analyzer is a necessary tool in the Forensic DNA analysts' tool belt. The 3500 is the latest edition of the instrument, and within the near future, all crime labs will be using this instrument. The 3500 is capable of analyzing fragments of DNA that have been labeled with a fluorescent dye. As the fragments are separated in the capillaries according to size, they pass through a window where the fluorescent molecule is excited, at which time it emits a photon that is detected and is then translated into data for the analyst to interpret. The data that come from using this instrument include all DNA profiles and sequence data for old, degraded samples.



The CRAIC QDI 2000(c) microspectrophotometer has a 75W Xenon lamp capable of taking UV-visible-near IR measurements from 200-900 nm in transmittance mode as well as UV-visible fluorescence and reflectance. The system also can obtain images using a CRAIC CCD that are viewed using IC Capture (Version software. This instrument is used for research and teaching. Current research projects include fluorescent dyes for fingerprint development, fluorescent nanoparticles for fingerprint development, human hair dyes, automotive paint clear coats, pigmented inks, explosives, drugs and fibers. Many of the spectra collected are interpreted with multivariate statistics.

Foster and Freeman GRIM 2 with Leica Phase Contrast Microscope


The Foster and Freeman glass refractive index monitoring system is an automated analysis of the refractive index of small transparent particles, mostly glass, and can also be used for plastics and fibers. This is also equipped with a Leica Phase Contrast Light Microscope, which allows for better quality refractive indices to be measured. This instrument is a staple in forensic laboratories that perform glass analysis. We are fortunate to give our students a hands-on experience with a true forensic instrument.

Foster and Freeman Laser Raman


The Foster and Freeman micro laser Raman has a 785nm, 2.5 mw laser and both 20X and 35X objectives. This instrument is being used for teaching and research. We are currently researching automotive paint clear coats, pigmented inks, fibers and hair dyes.

Foster and Freeman VSC-1


The Foster and Freeman visual spectral comparator is useful in comparing questioned documents as well as visualizing through alternations in a document. This instrument uses multiple wavelengths of light, ranging from Ultraviolet to Infrared, to depict similarities and differences in inks. We use this tool mostly in teaching laboratories focused on document analysis.

Leica Polarizing Light Comparison Microscope


This Leica Polarizing Light Comparison microscope is a necessary component in comparing fibers, minerals and other materials that have anisotropic optical properties. There are two Leica DMEP student polarizing light microscopes connected with a comparison bridge consisting of a series of mirrors directing the right stage image to the right ocular and the left stage image to the left ocular. The images can be viewed separately, side-by-side, or overlapped. The system also is equipped with a camera to record images. This microscope is used in advanced courses to analyze fibers, hairs and minerals.



The Microm HM 355 S microtome is a motorized microtome capable of making cross sections 3um thick. We use embedding media and make routine cross sections of paint chips, hairs or fibers for research.

Percival Biological Incubator Model I-36L


Dr. Picard's research lab includes two biological incubators that are used for growth and developmental studies of blow flies (the forensically important flies that like to visit corpses). These incubators carefully control temperature, humidity and light periods, therefore any experiment can be programmed.

Perkin Elmer FTIR


The Perkin Elmer Spectrum One Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometer has an Autoimage microscope attachment including both TGS and MCT detectors. This instrument is capable of taking high-quality infrared spectra in transmittance and reflectance mode using the microscope or transmittance and attenuated total reflectance mode using the main bench or microscope. This instrument is used for teaching the analysis of drugs, fibers, explosives and paint and for research in automobile paint clear coats, fibers and hair dyes.

Thermo Scientific UV-Vis Spectrometer


This is an Evolution 210 Thermo Scientific UV-Vis Spectrometer that is useful in forensic chemistry teaching laboratory exercise. This type of analysis is used as a presumptive test in illicit drug analysis to detect absorbance in the Ultraviolet and Visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Forensics lecturer enjoys camaraderie of program she helped launch

Gina Londino Lecturer
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