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Forensic Testing: Gunshot Residue Findings

NCJ Number
Law Enforcement Technology Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Dated: (February 1991) Pages: 36-37
Date Published
2 pages
A new process, Micellar Electrokinetic Capillary Electrophoresis (MECE), measures the organic components of gunshot and explosive residues and has the potential of providing positive identification on very small samples.
An added benefit is that MECE could streamline forensics work through rapid test results, moderate instrument costs, and uncomplicated sample preparation. The technique is still in the early experimental stages, but chemists have been able to identify as many as 26 major components contained in gunpowder and explosive residues. The current process of testing gunshot residue is complicated, requires expensive equipment, and takes precious time. These and other difficulties led chemists to explore alternate methods of analyzing gunshot and explosive residues. MECE provides such high resolution separation of the components, scientists are able to identify the "chemical fingerprinting" or "recipes" of individual gunpowders or explosives. Though it may be several years before the technique is used in field laboratories, law enforcement professionals of the future may be able to build cases involving gunshots and explosives faster, more accurately, and with less expense than current testing methods allow.

Date Published: January 1, 1991