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Phenom - The fastest “Point and Shoot” Desktop Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

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Forensic applications with Phenom

Phenom Desktop Scanning Electron MicroscopeEvery forensic laboratory contains a number of optical and digital microscopes. This is one of the primary requirements when setting up a forensic laboratory to perform routine imaging tasks. In general, these optical devices are robust and easy to operate. However the demand for magnifications beyond the optical range (>1000x) is increasing as the features of interest become smaller. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) can go beyond the optical scale with very high magnifications and depth of focus. Another advantage of SEM is the possibility to perform elemental analysis of microstructures. Combined with electron imaging, X-ray analysis is a very powerful tool for understanding the composition and structure of materials.

The Phenom desktop SEM combines the best of the optical and electron optical world. The Phenom provides useful images up to 45 000x magnification with high depth of focus. It is as easy to use as a typical laboratory-grade optical microscope and is therefore accessible for any forensic examiner in the lab.

The use of SEM in the forensic market can be of great value. The diversity of samples and applications is broad. The Phenom can investigate the majority of these samples. Some of the key applications are listed below.


Crime scene investigations

If a crime scene contains microscopic samples like hair, diatoms, pollen, these can be easily identified with electron microscopes.

Diatoms and pollen analysis can be useful in forensic science by helping identify the provenance of individuals, clothing or materials recovered from investigation sites. When identifying criminal suspects and victims or when associating them with a specific location, forensics hair analysis can be of crucial value in a criminal investigation. Hairs can be transferred during physical contact; their presence can associate a suspect to a victim or a suspect/victim to a crime scene. Comparison of the microscopic characteristics of questioned hairs to known hair samples helps determine whether a transfer may have occurred.

Gunshot residue (GSR)

GSR is the residue deposited on and around the body of the shooter after a bullet has been fired. Detection of a significant amount of residue, therefore, is a powerful piece of forensic evidence that the particular person was very near to or even holding the gun when it discharged.

Traffic accidents

Scanning electron microscopy is often used in investigating forensic evidence where a traffic incident has resulted in serious injury.
With the Phenom desktop SEM, forensics investigators can easily image a light bulb filament and perform elemental analysis. If a vehicle headlight, rear light or indicator is on at the time of an accident, the lamp filament will be hot and glass particles will melt onto it. Different glass particles can be showed and analyzed with the desktop SEM and used as a proof when investigating causes of accidents.

Phenom-World will be present and the Forensic Europe Expo. Visit us at stand A30 and experience all the possibilities of the Phenom desktop SEM!

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