Presented at the 2nd Joint European Stable Isotope User Meeting (JESIUM), Presqu'île de Giens, France, 31 August–5 September, 2008.
Special Issue Paper
Study of isotopic variations in black powder: reflections on the use of stable isotopes in forensic science for source inference†
Article first published online: 14 JUL 2009
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry
Volume 23, Issue 16, pages 2559–2567, 30 August 2009
How to Cite
Gentile, N., Siegwolf, R. T. W. and Delémont, O. (2009), Study of isotopic variations in black powder: reflections on the use of stable isotopes in forensic science for source inference. Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom., 23: 2559–2567. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4134
- Issue published online: 14 JUL 2009
- Article first published online: 14 JUL 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 19 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 15 MAY 2009
- Manuscript Received: 16 JAN 2009
- Fondation du 450e Anniversaire de l'Université de Lausanne and the Société Académique Vaudoise (SAV)
Isotope ratio mass spectrometry (IRMS) has recently made its appearance in the forensic community. This high-precision technology has already been applied to a broad range of forensic fields such as illicit drugs, explosives and flammable liquids, where current, routinely used techniques have limited powers of discrimination. The conclusions drawn from the majority of these IRMS studies appear to be very promising. Used in a comparative process, as in food or drug authentication, the measurement of stable isotope ratios is a new and remarkable analytical tool for the discrimination or the identification of a substance with a definite source or origin. However, the research consists mostly of preliminary studies. The significance of this ‘new’ piece of information needs to be evaluated in light of a forensic framework to assess the actual potential and validity of IRMS, considering the characteristics of each field. Through the isotopic study of black powder, this paper aims at illustrating the potential of the method and the limitations of current knowledge in stable isotopes when facing forensic problems. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.