SURFACE-ENHANCED RAMAN SPECTROSCOPY/FORENSICS: Raman spectroscopy method analyzes dyed hair to help solve crimes

Hair samples found at crime scenes can impact forensic investigations, but current sample analysis methods—DNA testing and microscopy comparisons—are time-intensive and often produce inconclusive results, respectively. Recognizing this, two Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) researchers tested a Raman spectroscopy method to see if it could determine whether the samples were treated with hair dye and, if so, the brand of dye used. Their reasoning was that such information could help compare hair samples with the hair of suspects. The method they used can identify chemicals with single-molecule resolution and requires minimal sample.1

Richard P. Van Duyne, the Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern, and Dmitry Kurouski, a postdoctoral fellow in Van Duyne's lab, used surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to identify the chemicals in hair dyes within minutes. The two researchers first used a confocal Raman spectrometer to acquire SERS spectra from a variety of different hair dyes, followed by a portable Raman spectrometer to prove that the method can be used in the field. Results confirmed that all vibrational bands visible in SERS spectra acquired with the confocal Raman spectrometer were also present when they used the portable Raman spectrometer.

1. D. Kurouski and R. P. Van Duyne, Anal. Chem., (2015).

Get All the BioOptics World News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to BioOptics World Magazine or email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now
Related Articles

Optical sensor could assist with needle placement for epidurals, other procedures

A newly developed optical sensor can be embedded into an epidural needle, helping to guide the needle to the correct location.  

Spectroscopy: Raman spectroscopy advances for biomedical applications

Raman spectroscopy offers unique analytical capabilities applicable to a wide array of life science applications.

Multispectral method is noninvasive for imaging tissue oxygenation

A new multispectral approach for imaging tissue oxygenation could eliminate the need for surgical intervention.

Raman spectroscopy can help study blood stored in plastic blood bags

Raman spectroscopy can help study blood stored in plastic blood bags

Raman spectroscopy can monitor biochemical changes and inter-donor variability in stored red blood cell units.


Neuro15 exhibitors meet exacting demands: Part 2

Increasingly, neuroscientists are working with researchers in disciplines such as chemistry and p...

Why be free?

A successful career contributed to keeping OpticalRayTracer—an optical design software program—fr...

LASER Munich 2015 is bio-bent

LASER World of Photonics 2015 included the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics among its si...

White Papers

Understanding Optical Filters

Optical filters can be used to attenuate or enhance an image, transmit or reflect specific wavele...

How can I find the right digital camera for my microscopy application?

Nowadays, image processing is found in a wide range of optical microscopy applications. Examples ...



Twitter- BioOptics World