Forensic Applications

Photograph of a handgun being fired, showing the smoke consisting of GSR particles.When a gun is fired, small particles are generated during the explosion of the primer. They leave the gun via the smoke and are deposited on objects in the immediate environment of the weapon (body, clothing, etc.). These small particles are called gunshot residue (GSR).

GSR particles provide evidence of a gun having been fired

A section cut through a GSR particle made by a focussed ion beam (FIB).

A section cut through a GSR particle made by a focussed ion beam (FIB).

GSR particles are characteristic, so their presence provides evidence of a gun having been fired. The particles normally consist of Pb (lead), Sb (antimony) and Ba (barium). Newer ammunitions contain other characteristic materials. In this section of the site we will look at software solutions that allow you to find GSR particles using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Optionally, you can process this data away from the SEM using GSR Emulator Software – freeing up valuable instrument time and speeding up report preparation (the emulator software can also be used for off-line training). Gunshot residue analysis software

Identifying bullets and cartridge cases from a crime scene

Flat view of 9mm cartridge casing

Eastern Analytical

Eastern Analytical are also a leading supplier of software and hardware for ballistic comparison by SEM. Eastern Analytical’s ‘flat view’ presentation is one of the most convincing forms of evidence available for showing whether or not munitions from a ballistic test and those from the crime scene came from the same weapon.

Handgun photograph courtesy of FEI Company, Eindhoven