Crime scene samples as small as one millionth of a millimetre may be examinable through an instrument commissioned by the ChemCentre.
As part of a $2.7m state government investment, the ChemCentre, which provides forensic services for the Western Australian Police and State Coroner, has commissioned two instruments aimed at bolstering the state’s specialist forensic science and analytical chemistry laboratory.
These include a $500,000 mass spectrometer with advanced functionality, resolution and sensitivity, and an $825,000 scanning electron microscope.
The latter is designed to enable ChemCentre scientists to examine samples as small as a millionth of a millimetre.
Applications include the detection and analysis of minute particles such as gunshot residue, soil, substances used in the manufacture of illicit drugs, and other trace evidence at crime scenes.
The microscope will also be used for mining and environmental analysis, helping to identify the composition of minerals and characterise dust samples, according to the state government.