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Practical Forensic Microscopy: A Laboratory Manual

Barbara Wheeler, Lori J. Wilson

ISBN: 978-1-119-96557-2 August 2011 384 Pages


Forensic Microscopy: A Laboratory Manual will provide the student with a practical overview and understanding of the various microscopes and microscopic techniques employed within the field of forensic science. Each laboratory experiment has been carefully designed to cover the variety of evidence disciplines within the forensic science field with carefully set out objectives, explanations of each topic and worksheets to help students compile and analyse their results.

The emphasis is placed on the practical aspects of the analysis to enrich student understanding through hands on experience. The experiments move from basic through to specialised and have been developed to cover a variety of evidence disciplines within forensic science field. The emphasis is placed on techniques currently used by trace examiners.

This unique, forensic focused, microscopy laboratory manual provides objectives for each topic covered with experiments designed to reinforce what has been learnt along with end of chapter questions, report requirements and numerous references for further reading. Impression evidence such as fingerprints, shoe tread patterns, tool marks and firearms will be analysed using simple stereomicroscopic techniques. Body fluids drug and trace evidence (e.g. paint glass hair fibre) will be covered by a variety of microscopes and specialized microscopic techniques.

Related Resources




Laboratory Safety.

Microscope Maintenance.

The Micro Kit.


Chapter 1: The Stereomicroscope.

Experiment 1A: Familiarization with the Stereomicroscope.

Chapter 2: The Compound Light Microscope.

Experiment 2A: Familiarization with the Compound Light Microscope. 

Experiment 2B: Measurements Using the Ocular Micrometer.

Experiment 2C: Microscopic Mounting Techniques.

Experiment 2D: Determining Refractive Index.

Chapter 3: The Polarized Light Microscope.

Experiment 3A: Familiarization with the Polarized Light Microscope.

Experiment 3B: Determining Refractive Index of Anisotropic Materials.

Experiment 3C: Determining Birefringence and Sign of Elongation.

Chapter 4: The Fluorescence Microscope.

Experiment 4A: Familiarization with the Fluorescence Microscope.

Chapter 5: The Phase Contrast Microscope.

Experiment 5A: Familiarization with the Phase Contrast Microscope.

Application Experiments.

Chapter 6: Experiment 6: Physical Match Examinations.

Chapter 7: Experiment 7: Construction Examinations of Evidence.

Chapter 8: Experiment 8: Lamp Filament Examinations.

Chapter 9: Experiment 9: Fingerprint Examinations and Comparison.

Chapter 10: Experiment 10: Tool Mark Examinations.

Chapter 11: Firearms Examinations.

Experiment 11: Firearms Examinations.

Experiment 11A: Gunshot Residue Examinations.

Chapter 12 Experiment 12: Shoe and Tire Print/Impression Examinations.

Chapter 13 Experiment 13: Botanical Examinations. 

Chapter 14 Experiment 14: Paint Examinations.

Chapter 15 Hair Examinations.

Experiment 15: Hair Examinations. 

Experiment 15A: Animal Hair Examinations. 

Experiment 15B: Determination of Racial and Somatic Origin Characteristics of Human Hair.

Experiment 15C: Human Hair Examinations and Comparisons. 

Experiment 15D: Evaluation of Human Hair for DNA. 

Chapter 16 Glass Examinations. 

Experiment 16: Glass Examinations. 

Experiment 16A: Glass Breakage Determinations. 

Chapter 17 Fiber Examinations.

Experiment 17: Textile Fibers Examinations.

Experiment 17A: Natural Fiber Examinations.

Experiment 17B: Man-made Fiber Examinations. 

Experiment 17C: Fiber Comparisons.

Chapter 18 Soil Examination. 

Experiment 18: Soil Examinations.

Experiment 18A: Identification of Minerals in Soil. 

Chapter 19 Experiment 19: Microchemical Testing – Inorganic Ions.

Chapter 20 Experiment 20: Microscopic Analysis of Controlled Substances.

Chapter 21 Experiment 21: Semen Examinations Instrumental Microscopy.

Chapter 22 Experiment 22: Fourier Transform Infrared Microspectrometry. 

Chapter 23 Experiment 23: UV-Visible-NIR Microspectrophotometry.

Chapter 24 Experiment 24: Thermal Microscopy.

Chapter 25 Experiment 25: Scanning Electron Microscopy.


A Optical Properties of Natural Fibers.

B Optical Properties of Man-Made Fibers.

C Michel-L´evy Chart.

D Dispersion-Staining Graph.

E Mock Case Scenario.

F Circle Template.

Glossary of Microscopy Terms.


?Overall I think this is a well structured book and illustrates the use of different types of microscopes with clearly explained experiments that introduce students to many types of forensic evidence.? (Reviews, May 2009)

?This helpful book fills a gap for all those entering the field of forensic microscopy.? (Doody's Reviews, May 2009)

·         A potential companion text to Forensic Microscopy: An Introduction

·         Clearly explained practical experiments including worksheets giving the student hands on microscopy experience

·         Numerous references to accompany practical microscopy experiments with pre laboratory questions

·         Emphasis on techniques currently used by trace examiners

·         Discussions on forensic microscopy and microscopy techniques from basic to specialised areas

·         Laboratory report requirements to assist in assessing students developing microscopy knowledge and skills

·         Includes pre-lab preparation and quizzes alongside clearly identified learning objectives to re-enforce student understanding