Abstract

Raman spectroscopy has emerged as a viable technique for the organic analysis of gunshot residues (GSRs), offering additional information to the well-established analysis using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX). In this article, a Raman imaging system with an electron-multiplying coupled-charged device (EMCCD) camera was used to analyze complete GSR particles from both conventional and nontoxic ammunition fired at different cloth targets. The same cloths were then stained with blood to mimic real evidence and measured. The direct analysis using Raman imaging of the GSR particles collected with the stubs used for SEM-EDX analysis (the frequent method used for GSR collection) was evaluated. Multivariate curve-resolution and chemical-mapping methods were applied to the spectroscopic data to identify and highlight the signal corresponding to the GSR particles and differentiate them from the substrates. It was confirmed that both measurement approaches (on the targets and the stubs) could be used for the identification of GSR particles, even under unfavorable conditions such as the presence of blood. The results obtained demonstrate the huge potential of Raman imaging for the fast analysis of complete GSR particles and prove its complementary usefulness in the analysis of the stubs used by the well-established SEM-EDX technique.

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