Christine O’Brien

Articles

Shedding New Light on Forensic Timelines

September 01, 2016

The development of novel, nondestructive technologies for rapid analysis of evidence discovered at crime scenes is pertinent to our criminal justice system to solve the millions of violent crimes that occur each year. Without a witness, establishing the precise timeline of a crime is difficult. Therefore, technologies based on sensitive, nondestructive techniques are needed to evaluate evidence and create such a timeline. We propose the use of Raman spectroscopy to analyze the age of bloodstains for potential use as a forensics tool. Previous studies have revealed Raman spectroscopy is sensitive to changes in blood analyte concentration and different oxidative states of hemoglobin. Raman spectroscopy could allow for rapid comparison of spectra from blood stains of unknown age to spectra of known age with high temporal accuracy. Though further investigation into other substrates and biochemical components should be performed, our study reveals Raman spectroscopy has the potential to accurately and nondestructively determine the age of a bloodstain for use in criminal investigations.