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Analysis of Gunshot Residue for Antimony and Barium by Flameless Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry

NCJ Number
Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: (June 1980) Pages: 19-26
M L Newbury
Date Published
8 pages
This article describes the flameless atomic absorption technique (FASS) for the analysis of antimony and barium in gunshot residue (GSR) samples.
Pyrolytically-coated graphite microboats are used for antimony and round cuvettes for barium. Equipment used is an Instrumentation Laboratories graphite furnace atomizer and the atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Glass and plastic ware must be soaked in 1M nitric acid solution prior to use. Deionized water is used throughout. The drying, pyrolyzing, and atomization of the sample are controlled by appropriate settings of the furnace power supply. Sample collection involves washing each of the subject's hands with a dilute nitric acid solution. The analytical method has been developed so that sample pretreatment is minimal; the sensitivity is 15 pg for antimony and 70 pg for barium. The possible interference effects of other components of the handwash have been studied. Prior to the antimony analysis, sodium chloride is added to both the standards and the samples to ensure a uniform matrix effect. The FASS method is well suited for the analysis of the GSR samples. Batches of thirty or more samples can be analyzed in one day and several samples can be analyzed of both elements and lead in about 2 hours. Tables, graphs, and 19 references are included.