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Gas Chromatography in Forensic Science

Forensic Science

  1. Grzegorz Zadora,
  2. Dariusz Zuba

Published Online: 15 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a9097

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Zadora, G. and Zuba, D. 2009. Gas Chromatography in Forensic Science. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. Institute of Forensic Research, Krakow, Poland

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2009


Materials such as biological fluids and tissues, fire debris, car paints, and fibers are the most common evidential materials analyzed by forensic chemists and are characterized by a high degree of complexity. Developments in forensic science have introduced many vital crime-solving techniques over the past decades. The introduction of gas chromatography (GC) has broadened the range of available tools, but more importantly, has improved the credibility of analytical findings by demonstrating a high separation power and high sensitivity. GC is often coupled with molecular detection methods such as mass spectrometry, or infrared spectrometry, making it a powerful tool in identification of a wide variety of chemical substances. Some recent applications of GC in the forensic sciences, including those in forensic toxicology, are presented in the article, which include alcohol and drugs in drivers, markers of alcohol abuse, volatiles and anesthetics, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, other poisons, drug-facilitated sexual assault (DFSA) and drug profiling, and more general application to criminalistics in areas such as fire debris, car paints, explosives, toners, fibers, inks, and fingermark analysis.


  • forensic sciences;
  • analytical chemistry;
  • gas chromatography;
  • forensic toxicology;
  • criminalistics;
  • trace analysis