Gunshot Residue Analysis in the Undergraduate Laboratory Using Toy Cap Guns


Chemistry & Biochemistry

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The authors developed an experiment for the undergraduate analytical or forensic chemistry laboratory in which gunshot residues (GSRs) produced from toy cap guns are analyzed by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). Alternatively, the experiment is readily adaptable to any emission spectroscopy technique. This project allows students to investigate the development of a forensic method while addressing proper sampling techniques used in forensic investigations. Students were able to develop a library of blank samples, establish signal detection limits to address legal considerations for determination of false-positive and -negative error rates, and optimize an emission spectrometer.