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Paint and Fiber Evidence Forensic Science


Paint and Fiber Evidence Forensic Science

Infrared spectroscopy is used in forensic science to identify organic compounds in arson cases or in plastics, cars, and paints like during car crash or analyzing a cars paint on another vehicle that may have been involved in a hit and run. Infrared spectroscopy can also analyze DNA evidence found in clothing or clothing fibers to help identify a missing person or place an individual at a scene. Additionally microspectrophotometry analyzes light transmitted from small specimens. This is relevant because the forensic science of spectroscopy works by using methods of microspectrophotometry by measuring the vibration of atoms and molecules with interaction of an infrared light. This will determine the wave number which associates a material with a certain color of which specific chemicals are made and can associate with unique manufacturers such as certain types of cars with paint only come from certain places by by a specific manufacturer and are associated with a specific model and even year made. This can also support factual evidence of year the paint was made and what its used for so if the paint is only used for motorcycles and not cars then there’s a key finding.

During a forensic analysis if microcantilevers are used in microspectrophotometry, chemical and biological changes can easily be detected during the vibrational frequency interacting with the infrared light. This can determine if there are polymeric or inorganic coatings which is strong supportive factual evidence that can be used to indicate a certain type of paint that was used or found like on a vehicle that was swabbed during a hit and run or on a piece of evidence that’s analyzed to be used in court for a murder trial. According to Pini, V., Kosaka, P. M., Ruz, J. J., Malyar, O., Encinar, M., Tamayo, J., & Calleja, M. (2016), “Optical techniques, such as imaging ellipsometry, white light interferometry and micro-spectrophotometry are widely used experimental methods for thin film thickness characterization. These are nondestructive methods, they do not require any previous sample preparation and can easily achieve spatial lateral resolution in the micrometer range. Imaging ellipsometry is a versatile technique for the non-destructive optical characterization of thin films. However, in this technique, a motorized focusing system is needed because measurements need to be performed at varying observation angles; this experimental requirement increases the measurement time and adds complexity to the entire equipment.” (Pg1Para2)

Reflecting on what I believe are the personal traits of a forensic scientist would be providing a scientific hypotheses based on factual evidence collected from the pieces of evidence from a crime scene. A forensic scientist would try to limit the room of error by performing an analysis on pieces of the original evidence to prevent damage of the evidence in which case would prevent further analysis or use in court for prosecution of a suspect. Traits would most likely be logical and unrelated to personal opinion since evidence has to be analyzed by scientific means.

All forensic sciences cover a wide area of analyzing and processing information. According to Gaensslen, R. E. (2003), “Forensic science is a broad, interdisciplinary group of applications of physical and biological sciences and various technologies to issues in civil and criminal justice. To discuss the educational preparation necessary for entry into the forensic sciences, we have to define their scope. In the broadest sense – the one we will adopt for purposes of this discussion – the forensic sciences consist of pathology, dentistry (odontology), psychiatry, psychology, toxicology, entomology, physical anthropology, human biological evidence (blood, semen, saliva, etc.) analysis, the analysis of other types of biological materials, such as plant materials, pollens, etc., analysis of hair, fibers, and all types of materials, analysis and comparison of patterns and pattern evidence (fingerprints, documents, firearms, tool marks, etc.), engineering, and the investigation and analysis of computer crime, crime scenes, and crime scene patterns.”(Pg1151Para1)



Pini, V., Kosaka, P. M., Ruz, J. J., Malyar, O., Encinar, M., Tamayo, J., & Calleja, M. (2016). Spatially Multiplexed Micro-Spectrophotometry in Bright Field Mode for Thin Film Characterization. Sensors (14248220), 16(6), 1-11. doi:10.3390/s16060926

Gaensslen, R. E. (2003). How do I become a forensic scientist? Educational pathways to forensic science career. Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry, 376(8), 1151-1155. doi:10.1007/s00216-003-1834-0


For more information on this topic see: Forensic Science Simplified

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