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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 428038, 11 pages
Review Article

Scanning Electron Microscopy and X-Ray Microanalysis for Chemical and Morphological Characterisation of the Inorganic Component of Gunshot Residue: Selected Problems

1Faculty of Chemistry, Jagiellonian University, Ingardena Street 3, 30-060 Krakow, Poland
2Department of Criminalistics, Institute of Forensic Research, Westerplatte Street 9, 31-033 Krakow, Poland

Received 13 February 2014; Revised 18 May 2014; Accepted 25 May 2014; Published 15 June 2014

Academic Editor: Emanuela Turillazzi

Copyright © 2014 Zuzanna Brożek-Mucha. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chosen aspects of examinations of inorganic gunshot particles by means of scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry technique are presented. The research methodology of particles was worked out, which included a precise and repeatable procedure of the automatic detection and identification of particles as well as the representation of the obtained analytical data in the form of the frequencies of occurrence of particles of certain chemical or morphological class within the whole population of particles revealed in a specimen. On this basis, there were established relationships between the chemical and morphological properties of populations of particles and factors, such as the type of ammunition, the distance from the gun muzzle to the target, the type of a substrate the particles sediment on, and the time between shooting and collecting the specimens. Each of these aspects of examinations of particles revealed a great potential of being utilised in casework, while establishing various circumstances of shooting incidents leads to the reconstruction of the course of the studied incident.