Combining the Tape-Lift Method and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopic Imaging for Forensic Applications

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Abstract:

Conventional Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy and microscopy have been widely used in forensic science. New opportunities exist to obtain chemical images and to enhance the spatial resolution using attenuated total reflection (ATR) FT-IR spectroscopy coupled with a focal-plane array (FPA) detector. In this paper, the sensitivity limits of FT-IR imaging using three different ATR crystals (Ge, ZnSe, and diamond) in three different optical arrangements for the detection of model particles is discussed. Model systems of ibuprofen and paracetamol particles having sizes below 32 μm were studied. The collection of drug particles was achieved with the aid of two different tapes: common adhesive tape and a film of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The surface of the film with collected particles was measured directly via ATR-FT-IR imaging. Since the removal of tape from porous surfaces can be difficult, the application of micro ATR-FT-IR imaging directly to the surface of a newspaper contaminated with particles of model drugs is also discussed. In order to assess the feasibility of the chosen method in a forensic case study, the detection of diacetylmorphine hydrochloride traces in PDMS matrix and the finger surface is investigated. The scenarios considered were that of the detection of evidence collected at a crime scene with the tape lift method and the analysis of the finger of an individual after drug handling. The results show broad implications in the detection of drugs of abuse.

Keywords: ATR; ATTENUATED TOTAL REFLECTION; DIACETYLMORPHINE; DRUGS OF ABUSE; FINGERPRINTS; FORENSICS; FOURIER TRANSFORM INFRARED SPECTROSCOPY; FT-IR SPECTROSCOPIC IMAGING; PDMS; POLYDIMETHYLSILOXANE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1366/000370206778397434

Affiliations: Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, London, SW7 2AZ, UK

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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