Atomic forensics

Combining results from inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES) and scanning electron microscope-energy disperse X-ray microanalysis (SEM/EDX) could soon be used by forensics experts to discriminate between metallic implements that have injured or killed a person. Such technology would be especially useful where an unambiguous identification of the weapon based on entry wound examination is not possible. The method is now gradually being utilized by the police, but it is a new technique and while it provides more stable evidence than other methods, there is some way to go before it is used widely. The researchers are currently selecting other implements to examine using their technique. They point out that clotting blood does not influence the results.