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Test 1
Question 1
1) Define forensic chemistry. What is the difference between forensic chemistry and
analytical chemistry?
(2 marks)
The application of chemistry to the study of materials or problems in cases where
the findings may be presented as technical evidence in a court of law. Forensic
chemistry adds comparative analysis to analytical chemistry.
2) Discuss the difference between classification and individualization by giving a case
study as example.
(4 marks)
Classification: properties of evidence that can be associated only with a group
and never with a single source.
Individualization: Properties of evidence that can attributed to a common source
with an extremely high degree of certainty.
Example:
Nylon fibres from the windbreaker (labeled K for known) subjected same
tests as the fibre in question (labeled Q) from the scene.
Similar results
Q and K belong to the same class, but does not proof of a common source.
But, Q and K have not been individualized.
Possible analysis chromatography / spectroscopy techniques.
If results match evidence has been individualized.
3) Define destructive techniques. Why non-destructive techniques are preferred in
forensic chemistry?
(2 mark)
Destructive methods involve taking a sample from the object of interest, and so
injures the object.
A non-destructive method conserves the integrity of the object, and is generally
preferred by forensic examiners.
4) List 4 sources of electromagnetic energy.
(2 mark)
UV
VIS
IR
X-ray

5) The excited state is unstable and the system decays back to the more stable state.
Outline three possible dissipation of excess energy from excited state to ground state
with the aid of diagram.
(5 marks)
-

Electrons can collide and convert their excess energy to kinetic energy
(favored in solutions) radiationless transitions (UV-VIS)
M*
M transition can result in the emission of a photon with energy equal
to the energy of the original absorbed photon emission
Combination of radiationless transitions and emission.

Question 2

1) Why the use of UV-VIS is not very significant in forensic chemistry.


(1 marks)
The range of material that can be analyzed and chemical information provided
by UV-VIS is essentially unlimited.

2) What is the actual component in monochromator that separate the wavelengths into
individual wavelength?
(1 marks)
dispersive grating

3) An ex-employee of a large company was arrested today following a 2-month police


investigation regarding forged cheques. Police arrested a man following information
received from a marketing company and from the bank that the company deals with.
It is believed that the individual obtained one of the cheques while working at the
company and had forged the payment amount on the cheque.
The suspects home was searched and several items were seized including a collection
of ink pens and other writing materials. Police are confident that one of the recovered
pens was used in the forgery. The writing materials collected were sent to the Forensic
lab for further analysis.

a) Based on the article above, name type of non-destructive technique in infrared


spectroscopy is useful in ink comparison. Explain on how the analysis is carried
out.
(4 marks)
ATR-FTIR.
-

Place face down the written ink paper onto crystal and apply suitable pressure
so that the sample has sufficient contact with crystal.
Measure the wavelength for the sample from 4000-400 cm-1.
Collect the IR spectra
b) Based on your answer in 3 a), describe the principle of analytical technique with
the aid of diagram
(5 marks)
The IR radiation from the spectrometer enters the crystal.
It then reflects through the crystal and penetrating into the sample a finite
amount with each reflection along the top surface via the so-called
evanescent wave.
The attenuated (altered) energy from each evanescent wave is passed back
to the IR beam
Exits the opposite end of the crystal and passed to the detector

4) List the advantage and limitation of Germanium crystal.


(2 marks)

Advantages
High refractive index
Excellent for highly absorbing samples
e.g. rubber material containing carbon black
Limitations
Low depth of penetration
Useful for analysis of a single layer in laminate samples

5) List four factors in choosing the sampling techniques for infrared spectroscopy in
forensic chemistry.
(2 mark)
Physical state of the sample
Sample environment

Information required
Sample integrity
Sample size
Time and cost per sample