Soil examination for a forensic trace evidence laboratory: Part 2: Elemental analysis

Brenda WOODS, Paul Kirkbride, Chris LENNARD, James ROBERTSON

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) and scanning electron microscopy/energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX) are compared in terms of their discrimination power when applied to Australian soil specimens. SEM/EDX and XRF are frequently used in forensic laboratories for the elemental analysis of paint and glass, and for miscellaneous examinations. LIBS is an emerging technique for forensic applications, with a number of researchers promoting its use for the elemental profiling of glass fragments. In this study, 29 soil specimens were analysed, with 12 specimens coming from the Canberra area and the remaining 17 specimens from other sites around Australia. As very good discrimination results were obtained for each of the analytical methods, any of these elemental analysis techniques, available in a trace evidence laboratory, could be used as part of a wider examination protocol to differentiate soil specimens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-201
Number of pages7
JournalForensic Science International
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


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