| 14523 Westlake Drive
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
(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.
- Chemical identification of stains -- wood, carpet, clothing,
- Accelerant analysis -- in fire remnants such as carpet
- Chemical unknowns
- Product development and failure analysis -- adhesives, catalysts,
- Biodegradation of formulated products
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.
- Thickness measurements -- paint layers, coatings
- Particle ID -- dust, debris, wear metal and unknown particles in
lubricating oil and fuel
- Refractive index, crystal properties.
- Textile fiber and paper analysis
- Documents and artifacts -- examination, authentication,
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