Chasing molecules in forensic undergraduate lab with CCD-based instrumentation

Developments in CCD technology resulted in a range of affordable and portable analytical instruments which are suitable for forensic field work and are attractive for undergraduate teaching laboratory. With orientation towards forensic chemistry, we suggest shifting emphasis of analytical chemistry curriculum towards qualitative identification of chemical compounds. Here we discuss our experience with application of several techniques in undergraduate laboratory: (1) CCD-based miniature camera/microscope for evidence recording as a part of lab equipment in traditional analytical chemistry. (2) Use of portable CCD Raman spectrometer for identification of organic and inorganic compounds and their mixtures. (3) Testing of various models of desktop X-ray diffractometers for quick and reliable identification of organic and inorganic compounds. (4) Reflectance UV-vis spectrometry with handheld spectrophotometers for identification purposes. All these experiments were examined with forensic chemistry student at SUNY College at Buffalo.
Authors: 
Alexander Y Nazarenko
Author Affiliation: 
Chemistry Department, State University of New York, College at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, United States