Aigner McLaughlin Associates14523 Westlake Drive #20
Lake Oswego, OR 97035


Being a small lab, we have learned how to do analyses with limited equipment -- gas chromatography, thin layer chromatography, spectrophotometry, fluorimetry, and chemical spot tests in combination with optical microscopy. Other analyses we subcontract to appropriate labs or provide referrals.

Capillary gas chromatography is used for both characterization and quantitative analysis of mixtures of organic compounds. We use it with an FID detector to identify accelerants in arson cases. By pattern recognition, (see photo), one can distinguish between gasoline and other types of accelerants. We use the ASTM D--- procedure. We also use the instrument for trace organics in air, polymer analysis by pyrolysis, and solvent, biocide and pharmaceutical analysis.

Thin layer chromatography (TLC) is an all purpose tool for analyzing just about any chemical that can be partly dissolved in some solvent.-- a poor person's HPLC, IC, or CE. It can be used for ink analysis in document authenication, analysis of drugs and poisons, natural extracts, and pharmaceutical ingredients.

Spot tests can be used independently for identification of urine and semen stains and many other orgnaic and inorganic materials; however we mostly use them in combination with TLC and optical microscpy to enhance those techniques.

Spectrophotometry and fluorimetry are good for determining exact and/or trace amounts of reactive organic materials or dyes. We use spectrophotometry for measuring formaldehyde in air, for example.

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Optical microscopy is extremely useful, but requires highly skilled and experienced operators for success. Most microscopists specialize in some area, because of this demand on experience. Our specialty is particle identification. This makes us particularly good at identifying pollen, fibers, minerals, etc. in dust (air analysis), soil, and debris found at crime scenes or accidents (forensic microscopy). After examination by simple microscopy, we can also use polarized light microscpy (PLM), dispersion staining, chemical staining, phase contrast, dark field, and rather limited fluorescence techniques.

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