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Product Code: ILSC2009_1101

Unique Laser Safety Applications in Forensic Science
Authors:
Candace Soles, Coherent, Inc.; Santa Clara CA USA
Presented at ILSC 2009

Lasers are known as a superior light-source tool the forensics community uses to identify trace evidence. Lasers are slowly replacing commonly-used filtered lamps, primarily because of a new generation of portable, compact, low-power consumption lasers such as Coherents TracER. TracER, and lasers like TracER, have the ability to detect latent fingerprints, bone fragments, skin, and traces of body fluids. The mechanism by which the laser can reveal trace evidence is known as fluorescence, either inherent in the material or induced by treatment of the material with a fluorescence dye. Optimum images and spectral discrimination are best obtained with a 532 nm, 5-Watt laser.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the various uses of lasers in forensics, with special emphasis in a coroners office crime laboratory, and the safety challenges presented to forensics specialists working with a Class 4, visible laser, and to describe the unique and clever control measures used to protect the laser user and others working in the control area.

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