Gunshot Residue Identification

Course Details


This gunshot residue analysis by SEM/EDS course emphasizes hands-on learning. Using two SEM instruments, students have the opportunity to study test samples provided by our staff, under the direction of McCrone Associates scientists with more than 15 years of combined experience in SEM/EDS gunshot residue analysis.

During the course, students learn through lecture, demonstration, and hands-on participation: theory of the SEM and EDS systems, how to setup and operate SEM and EDS instruments for GSR analysis. The students will be introduced to and participate in discussions of the ASTM E1588 and SWGGSR guidelines for SEM/GSR analysis, interpretation of data, reporting conclusions, and preparing for expert witness testimony.

Students will set up overnight GSR analysis runs using either the JEOL JSM 6480LV SEM with Oxford Instruments INCA EDS system or the ASPEX 3025 SEM/EDS system.

This course provides a foundation for students new to SEM and EDS. At the end of the GSR course, students with no prior experience are able to align an SEM, obtain secondary electron (SE) and backscatter electron (BE) micrographs, and perform EDS qualitative and quantitative analysis. For students with prior experience, we emphasize procedures and strategies to optimize the GSR analysis and data reduction.

  • Introduction and discussion of GSR Analysis by SEM/EDS course and instrumentation
  • Discussion of student’s interest
  • Lecture on SEM and EDS theory
  • Demonstrations of SEM imaging followed by students hands-on SEM operation
  • Demonstrations of EDS resolution checks, qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • Lecture on how to make an in-house GSR standard
  • Demonstration and student participation on sample preparation, techniques, and equipment
  • Demonstrations on instrument setup for GSR analysis
  • Practice and participation of students to set up and run overnight GSR analysis on GSR proficiency test samples
  • Given SEM and EDS instruments, the student will set up and operate the instruments successfully
  • Given SEM instrumentation, the student will acquire techniques in obtaining secondary electron and backscatter electron micrographs
  • Given SEM and EDS instrumentation, the student will perform EDS qualitative and quantitative analysis and set up and run an overnight automated GSR analysis
  • Given appropriate published guidelines, the student will interpret GSR analysis results and report conclusions

This practical SEM course provides a core foundation for students new to SEM/EDS GSR analysis or for those who would like to improve practical use and techniques, including:

  • Forensic scientists
  • Criminalists
  • Electron microscopists
  • Instrument operators
  • Trace evidence examiners

Instrumentation used during class is based on availability. Instrumentation, materials, and supplies necessary for successful completion of this course will be provided onsite by Hooke College of Applied Sciences. 

  • Detailed course manual
  • ASPEX 3025 SEM/EDS
  • JEOL JSM-6480LV low vacuum SEM
  • Prior use of SEM with EDS
  • Initial in-house or vendor training

Students are expected to successfully complete a variety of tasks in the form of hands-on exercises, laboratory exercises, identifications of unknowns, and quizzes. Students are notified at the end of the course whether or not they have successfully completed the requirements of the course based on:

  • 100% Attendance
  • Class participation
  • Completion of all course material
  • Completed and signed student evaluation form

Upon successfully meeting these requirements, a student is awarded a certificate of completion and CEU credits, if available. Those who have not successfully passed the course requirements do not receive a certificate or CEU credits.

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