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An Investigation into the Spatial Elemental Distribution Within a Pane of Glass by Time of Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry

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Advances in the technology employed for the manufacture of glass have resulted in a final glass product with little variability in terms of its physical and optical properties. For example, the refractive index of Australian float glass tends to lie between 1.5189 and 1.5194. It has therefore become necessary to complement physical and optical methods for forensic glass comparison with instrumental elemental analyses. In a previous study, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry has been shown to offer potential for the analysis of glass particles as small as a few tens of microns across. In this study, the three-dimensional homogeneity of a sheet of float glass is described, and consequences for forensic elemental analysis of glass particles of such size are explored. Variation in Si, Ca, Mg, and Na levels immediately under the nonfloat surface was observed, with the variance accompanied by a decrease in refractive index.
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Keywords: elemental analysis; forensic science; glass; refractive index; time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry; trace evidence

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Defence Science and Technology Organisation, Human Protection and Performance Division, 506 Lorimer Street, Fishermans Bend, Vic. 3207, Australia. 2: National Institute of Forensic Science, PO Box 13075, Law Courts Post Office, Vic. 8010, Australia. 3: School of Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences, Flinders University, South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia. 4: Ian Wark Research Institute, Mawson Lakes Boulevard, Mawson Lakes, South Australia.

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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