Photon activation analysis as a tool for evidentiary sample identification: a feasibility study
In this study we investigated the feasibility of using photon activation analysis (PAA) for the identification and individualization of crime scene evidence. We prepared six samples of stainless steel knife blades belonging to same or different knives and activated them with bremsstrahlung photons produced by a 30 MeV electron beam. A number of alloying elements and impurities were identified by gamma-spectroscopy. Comparing the ratios of concentrations of Ti, Cr, As, Co, and Ni, allowed us to easily attribute the samples. While more work is needed to optimize the analytical method and improve its sensitivity, we believe PAA can be successfully used for non-destructive evidence materials identification.
KeywordsPhoton activation analysis Forensic science Trace evidence
The authors are thankful to Professor Doug Wells for helpful suggestions and discussions and to the Idaho Accelerator Center staff for their support in conducting the experiment.
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