Analytical Chemistry, Forensic Science, Fluorescence, Textile Fibers
Trace textile fiber evidence is found at numerous crime scenes and plays an important role in linking a suspect to the respective scene. Several methods currently exist for the analysis of trace fiber evidence. Microscopy provides information regarding the fibers material, color and weave. For more detailed chemical analysis chromatographic methods are employed and for discrimination between dyes, liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (LC-MS) is currently the method providing the most discrimination. These methods have primarily focused on the dyes used to color the fibers and have not investigated other components that can potentially discriminate among fibers. This dissertation deals with investigations into the fluorescence of the fiber dyes, (contaminants?) and the fibers themselves, as well as methodology for discriminating between fibers using fluorescence. Initial systematic analysis was conducted on dye standards and extracts taken from fibers colored with the respective dyes of interest. Absorbance, excitation and fluorescence spectra were compared between standards and extracts to determine the optimal area of the fiber to investigate: dyes, fluorescent impurities or the whole fiber. High performance liquid chromatography investigations were performed to give detailed information on the number of dye and fluorescent components present in extracts. Our investigations then focused on the best room-temperature fluorescence (RTF) data format for analysis and discrimination of fiber samples. An excitation emission matrix (EEM) was found to give the greatest amount of spectral information and provide the highest level of discrimination. Successful discrimination between non similar and similar fibers was achieved with the aid of Chemometric analysis. The level of discrimination obtained via RTF-EEM spectroscopy was sufficient to differentiate among fibers obtained from two separate cloths of the same material and colored with the same dye reagent. Final studies deal with examining exposure of the fiber to various environmental contaminants. Clothing fibers are typically exposed to myriad numbers of contaminants, from food stains to cigarette smoke. The challenge then becomes detecting fluorescence signals from trace amounts of these environmental contaminants. We demonstrate the detection and classification of polycyclic aromatic hyrdrocarbons (PAH) present on fibers after exposure to cigarette smoke. This dissertation also investigates the change in fluorescence emission after laundering fibers numerous times. The main drawback of chemical analysis of fibers is the destructive nature of the methods. To extract a dye or contaminant from a fiber essentially destroys the evidence. This leaves the investigator without their original sample in the courtroom. This also provides a finite amount of sample for testing and analysis. This is true of chromatographic methods and for the method detailed in this dissertation which makes use of extracts taken from fiber samples. Lastly, we propose an instrumental setup coupling a microscope to a spectrofluorimeter for the purpose of taking EEM directly from a fiber sample. This setup makes use of the superior optics of the microscope for focusing excitation light onto the fiber sample. Initial studies have been performed on extracts from a single textile fiber and EEM collected from said fiber.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Rex, Matthew, "Room Temperature Fluorescence Spectroscopy As A Tool For The Forensic Trace Analysis Of Textile Fibers" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3831.