Trace Evidence Analysis

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
    • Agilent 7700 Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) – 100ppm and below
    • PE Optima 7300 DV ICP-OES with dual view (axial and radial) – 100ppm and above
    • Thermo ELEMENT2 Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) (High Resolution Sensor)
    • The New Wave UP 213 (213 nm)
    • Applied Spectra J200 Tandem
    • Applied Spectra J200 Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) system
    • JEOL JSM IT500HR high and low vacuum scanning FE electron microscope with an EDX & XRF
    • SEM sample preparation – inorganic and organic


    • Bruker Quantax EDS
    • Bruker Quantax Micro XRF
    • XFlash 6|10 Silicon Drift Detector
    • XTrace Micro-spot Xray source


    • Optical Microscopes
    • Stereomicroscopes with digital cameras (measurement of lines and area)
    • Polarized light microscope (PLM)
    • 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 email with any questions regarding the analytical services in the facility.


    • 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
  • Rates

    The Trace Evidence Analysis Facility 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.  Pricing for internal clients can be found on the ORED website. Please contact with questions, scheduling and information on outside vendor pricing.

  • Research

    Some of the research projects conducted at our facility 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.

Contact Us

Patrick Roman

Patrick Roman

Associate Professor

Global Forensic and Justice Center

Office: EC3355

Phone: (202) 294 - 8602