Electron microscopy (EM) has a wide variety of applications in forensic investigation. Numerous crime-scene micro-traces, including glass and paint fragments, tool marks, drugs, explosives and gunshot residue (GSR) can be visually and chemically analyzed with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The conclusions based on this analysis are critical as they can establish the nature of the crime, as well as who was involved.

Criminal investigators are often faced with the daunting task of analyzing crime scenes where firearms were used. Gunshot residue (GSR) analysis is a standard technique for determining whether a given individual or firearm was involved in the incident in question. Established GSR analysis begins with SEM surveying of suspected GSR particles, which are typically 0.5 to 10 micrometers in size. If a matching particle is found, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) is used within the SEM to identify the chemical composition of that particle. The most common search criteria are the presence of lead (Pb), barium (Ba), and antimony (Sb). Once a sample is confirmed to be the result of a gunshot, its characteristics can be used as supporting evidence in the investigation.

Traditionally this type of analysis was performed manually, and the forensic scientist would dedicate significant time to the characterization and comparison of evidence. The Thermo Scientific Phenom Perception GSR Desktop SEM is a dedicated tool specifically designed for gunshot residue analysis. The system features unique automation that enables you to speed up the analysis process, making it faster, easier, and more reliable. Ideally suited for any forensics laboratory that wants to save time and floor space, the Phenom Desktop SEM can also be applied to many other forensic applications, including ballistics, paint analysis, and fiber characterization.

Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm bullet cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm bullet cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Luger gunshot residue analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm Luger cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Luger gunshot residue analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm Luger cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue particle containing lead, antimony, and barium analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm bullet cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm bullet cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Luger gunshot residue analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm Luger cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Luger gunshot residue analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue from a 9mm Luger cartridge analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.
Gunshot residue particle analyzed with Desktop SEM
Gunshot residue particle containing lead, antimony, and barium analyzed with the Phenom GSR Desktop SEM.

Applications

Fundamental Materials Research_R&D_Thumb_274x180_144DPI

Fundamental Materials Research

Novel materials are investigated at increasingly smaller scales for maximum control of their physical and chemical properties. Electron microscopy provides researchers with key insight into a wide variety of material characteristics at the micro- to nano-scale.

 

Style Sheet for Techniques and Media Gallery Tab

EDS Elemental Analysis

EDS provides vital compositional information to electron microscope observations. In particular, our unique Super-X and Dual-X Detector Systems add options for enhanced throughput and/or sensitivity, allowing you to optimize data acquisition to meet your research priorities.

Learn more ›

Atomic-Scale Elemental Mapping with EDS

Atomic-resolution EDS provides unparalleled chemical context for materials analysis by differentiating the elemental identity of individual atoms. When combined with high-resolution TEM, it is possible to observe the precise organization of atoms in a sample.

Learn more ›

Particle analysis

Particle analysis plays a vital role in nanomaterials research and quality control. The nanometer-scale resolution and superior imaging of electron microscopy can be combined with specialized software for rapid characterization of powders and particles.

Learn more ›

EDS Elemental Analysis

EDS provides vital compositional information to electron microscope observations. In particular, our unique Super-X and Dual-X Detector Systems add options for enhanced throughput and/or sensitivity, allowing you to optimize data acquisition to meet your research priorities.

Learn more ›

Atomic-Scale Elemental Mapping with EDS

Atomic-resolution EDS provides unparalleled chemical context for materials analysis by differentiating the elemental identity of individual atoms. When combined with high-resolution TEM, it is possible to observe the precise organization of atoms in a sample.

Learn more ›

Particle analysis

Particle analysis plays a vital role in nanomaterials research and quality control. The nanometer-scale resolution and superior imaging of electron microscopy can be combined with specialized software for rapid characterization of powders and particles.

Learn more ›

Products

Style Sheet for Instrument Cards Original

Phenom Perception GSR Desktop SEM

  • Dedicated automated GSR desktop SEM
  • Resolution <10 nm; magnification up to 200,000x
  • Longlife CeB6 source

Contact us

Style Sheet for Support and Service footer
Style Sheet for Fonts
Style Sheet for Cards

Electron microscopy services for
the materials science

To ensure optimal system performance, we provide you access to a world-class network of field service experts, technical support, and certified spare parts.

Learn more ›