The facility contains instrumentation that can be used for research, education, and service. It is available for a fee to the university community and in some cases may be available to the scientific community outside the university. Our facility plays a key role in assisting faculty and students in conducting research with state-of-the-art instrumentation. We provide technical expertise, training and services to forensic scientists and the more general analytical sciences to the community.

Students in a trace evidence lab use analysis equipment to review test results.
  • Instruments
    • ELAN DRC Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS)
    • Thermo ELEMENT2 Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) (High Resolution Sensor Field, NSF Funding)
    • Laser Ablation
      • Applied Spectra J200 Tandem (266 nm)
      • The New Wave UP 213 (213 nm)
      • The CETAC LSX-500 (266 nm)
    • JEOL JSM 5900LV high and low vacuum scanning electron microscope with an EDX & XRF
    • PE Optima 7300 DV ICP-OES with dual view (axial and radial)
    • Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) systems
      • Applied Spectra J200
      • Applied Spectra J200 Tandem
      • Lasers: nanosecond pulsed Nd:YAG
        • NewWave Solo PIV 1064 nm
        • Big Sky Ultra 1064 nm
        • Brilliant b 532 nm
        • New Wave Tempest 266 nm
      • Spectrometers:

        • Andor Mechelle high-resolution broadband spectrometer with Andor iStar ICCD detector
        • Applied Spectra Aurora 6-channel broadband spectrometer with CCD detector
        • Princeton Intruments PI-MAX Czerny-Turner high-resolution spectrometer with ICCD detector
      • Accessories:

        • Berkley Nucleonics delay generators
        • Oscilloscope
        • CCD cameras
        • Motorized stages
        • Vernier stages
        • Lenses and mirrors for 266, 532, and 1064 nm
        • Multimode fiber optics
        • Labview
        • Two large breadboard tables
    • Optical Microscopes
      • Stereomicroscopes with digital cameras (measurement of lines and area)
      • Polarized light microscope (PLM)
      • Foster and Freeman Glass Refractive Index Measurement (GRIM2) system
      • Keyence Digital 3D microscope
    • Sample Preparation
      • MM200 Ball Mill with tungsten carbide or PTFE jars and balls for milling and homogenizing solid samples
      • Carver Bench-Top Pellet Press with stainless steel pellet dies (13 mm and 6 mm diameter)
      • AirClean Clean hood
      • Ultrasonic bath
      • Ovens
      • Hot plates
      • Vortex mixers
      • Centrifuges
      • Sieves (mini metal sieves, disposable plastic sieves)
      • Pipettes (micropipettes, serological pipettes, digital pipettor)
      • Environmental Express Hot Block for open vessel digestions
      • Milestone Ethos UP for microwave-assisted digestion
  • Analysis

    The Trace Evidence Analysis Facility may accept contracts for analytical services from academic, industrial and government customers. All contract requests will be considered for feasibility by the facility staff and faculty. Please contact us with any questions regarding the analytical services in the facility.

    Services

    • High magnification imaging using an SEM of a wide variety of materials
    • EDAX elemental analysis of materials
    • Elemental analysis and comparisons of materials using LA-ICP-MS
    • Elemental analysis of material by ICP-MS
    • Paint evidence examination and comparisons
    • Fiber evidence examination and comparisons
    • Glass evidence examinations and comparisons
    • Tailored workshops and short courses in different areas of forensic chemistry
  • Academic Rates

    The Trace Evidence Analysis Facility in Dr. Almirall’s group has agreed to a minimum pricing structure for FIU faculty and staff who need to use the equipment in this facility. These are minimum fees required to keep the equipment running properly throughout the year. The fees were calculated based on average expenses for maintenance and repair of the instruments from 2018 to 2019. Contact us for more information or to use equipment .

    FIU Faculty Fees

    Instrument

    Rate with operator

    Rate without operator

    ICP/MS AGILENT
    (Solution)

    $50/hour
    $200/half day
    $400/full day 

    $38/hour
    $152/half day
    $304/full day 

    ICP/MS AGILENT
    (LA-ICP-MS)

    $51/hour
    $204/half day
    $408/full day

    $27/hour
    $108/half day
    $216/full day 

    ICP/OES

    $83/hour
    $332/half day
    $664/full day

    $36/hour
    $144/half day
    $288/full day 

    ICP/MS E2

    $84/hour
    $336/half day
    $672/full day

    $$101/hour
    $404/half day
    $808/full day

    Sample preparation and data analysis

    $61/hour
    $244/half day
    $488/full day

    Specialized training and method development

    $89/hour
    $356/half day
    $712/full day

    Forensic training and laboratory demos

    $96/hour
    $384/half day
    $768/full day

  • Commercial Rates

    Instrument

    Rate with operator

    ICP/MS AGILENT
    (Soultion)

    $96/hour
    $384/half day
    $768/full day 

    ICP/MS AGILENT
    (LA-ICP-MS)

    $92/hour
    $368/half day
    $736/full day

    ICP/OES

    $182/hour
    $728/half day
    $1456/full day

    ICP/MS E2

    $596/hour
    $2384/half day
    $4768/full day

    Sample preparation and data analysis

    $91/hour
    $364/half day
    $728/full day

    Specialized training and method development

    $223/hour
    $892/half day
    $1784/full day

    Forensic training and laboratory demos 

    $186/hour
    $744/half day
    $1488/full day

    Pricing is negotiable for large volume contracts. The minimum charge period is 4 hours for any analysis.

  • Research

    Some of the research projects conducted at our facility under the direction of Dr. Almirall are focused on the development and application of analytical chemistry tools to enhance the value of scientific evidence in forensic science.

    Projects include the development of tools to characterize materials such as glass, paints and coatings, biological matrices, soils and others by the trace elemental content. LA-ICP-MS, LA-HR-ICP-MS, SEM, XRF, and LIBS are used to analyze a variety of matrices of interest to forensic scientists.

    This facility was partially funded by an NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant (CHE-0420874) to Florida International University.

  • Collaborators
    • Yong Cai (Advisory Board Member) Professor; Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; RFA 1 Co-Lead for CREST CAChe
    • Kenneth G. Furton (Advisory Board Member) Executive Director, Global Forensic and Justice Center; FIU Chief Scientific Officer and Provost Emeritus Designee
    • Piero R. Gardinali; Professor; Associate Director, Institute of Environment; Southeast Environmental Research Center
    • Rosemary Hickey-Vargas; Professor Emerita; Earth and Environment

Contact Us

Jose Almirall

Jose Almirall

Professor; Director, Center for Advanced Research in Forensic Science; Director, Trace Evidence Analysis Facility

Chemistry and Biochemistry


Office: AHC4 361

Phone: 305-348-3917

Email: almirall@fiu.edu

Specialty: Director, Trace Evidence Analysis Facility

ping Jiang

Ping Jiang

Research Scientist; Manager, Trace Evidence Analysis Facility

International Forensic Research Institute


Office: OE 109

Phone: 305-348-0001

Email: pijian@fiu.edu