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Standardized Process Developed for Identifying Dyes in Fibers

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2017
2 pages

This article summarizes the report of an NIJ-funded project with the goal of finding the optimum extraction conditions for hundreds of fabrics and dye combinations, using an automated device that can extract 10 nanograms of the dye from a minute fabric sample.


This project involved chemists in a university's textile chemistry program and engineers and computer scientists in the same university's precision engineering center. The researchers report that the development of an automated micro-fluidic dye extraction system and the use of statistics-based methodologies is a step toward the elimination of subjective assessment by analysts when comparing fabric dyes. They report that the ability to perform statistical-error calculations is critical, since one of the challenges of trace evidence analysis of dyed fibers is the lack of statistical rigor in comparing a standard and unknown fiber. Such statistical rigor can only be achieved through objective methods that are repeatable, reproducible, and can be compared to a comprehensive database of dyes. The researchers believe that their methodology is a step toward the presentation of fiber dye testimony in court with a statistical-error calculation. The grantee's report on this project is entitled "Microfluidic System for Automated Dye Molecule Extraction and Detection for Forensic Fiber Identification."

Date Published: June 1, 2017