Publication Details (including relevant citation information):
Bueno, J.; Sikirzhytski, V.; Lednev, I. K., Analytical Chemistry, 2012, 84 (10), 4334-4339. DOI: 10.1021/ac203429x, Journal Cover.
Near-infrared (NIR) Raman microspectroscopy combined with advanced statistics was used to differentiate gunshot residue (GSR) particles originating from different caliber ammunition. The firearm discharge process is analogous to a complex chemical reaction. The reagents of this process are represented by the chemical composition of the ammunition, firearm, and cartridge case. The specific firearm parameters determine the conditions of the reaction and thus the subsequent product, GSR. We found that Raman spectra collected from these products are characteristic for different caliber ammunition. GSR particles from 9 mm and 0.38 caliber ammunition, collected under identical discharge conditions, were used to demonstrate the capability of confocal Raman microspectroscopy for the discrimination and identification of GSR particles. The caliber differentiation algorithm is based on support vector machines (SVM) and partial least squares (PLS) discriminant analyses, validated by a leave-one-out cross-validation method. This study demonstrates for the first time that NIR Raman microspectroscopy has the potential for the reagentless differentiation of GSR based upon forensically relevant parameters, such as caliber size. When fully developed, this method should have a significant impact on the efficiency of crime scene investigations.