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Practical Forensic Microscopy. A Laboratory Manual. Edition No. 2

  • ID: 5185798
  • Book
  • March 2021
  • 450 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd

An applied approach to teaching forensic microscopy in educational settings, featuring new experiments and an up-to-date overview of the field 

Practical Forensic Microscopy: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd Edition, is a unique resource that brings the microscopic procedures used by real-world forensic investigators to the college laboratory, providing hands-on knowledge of the microscopes and microscopic techniques used in the field. Presenting a balanced, skills-based approach to the subject, this student-friendly lab manual contains dozens of experiments designed to cover the various microscopic evidence disciplines, including examinations of fingerprints, firearm, toolmark, shoeprint and tire impressions, gunshots, fibers, soil, , glass breakage, drugs, semen, and human hair. 

The second edition includes revised and updated experiments that reflect current technologies and techniques used in forensic science, including new experiments examining plastic film, food condiments, feathers, building materials, explosive residue, cigarette butts and more. Each chapter includes a list of simple objectives for the experiment, a general overview of the topic, further readings, and selected references. The manual contains worksheets and templates for students to use when compiling analytical results. The concluding chapter features an innovative case scenario that requires students to analyze items of evidence, complete a laboratory report, reach a conclusion, and present their findings. This popular lab manual: 

  • Teaches practical forensic microscopy skills through hands-on experiments and engaging practical activities 
  • Covers a wide range of microscopes and forensic tools, including stereomicroscopes, ocular micrometers, and fluorescence, polarized light, and phase contrast microscopes 
  • Explains simple stereomicroscopic techniques for analyzing various types of common forensic evidence 
  • Includes more complex procedures for examining biological, drug, and trace evidence  
  • Discusses laboratory safety, microscope maintenance, and the Micro Kit  

Written by an author with years of academic and professional experience, Practical Forensic Microscopy: A Laboratory Manual, 2nd Editionis a must-have companion for any college-level forensic science course with a laboratory component, and is a useful supplement for related courses that cover microscopy and the principles of forensic lab procedures. 

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Laboratory Safety

Microscope Maintenance

The Micro Kit


Chapter 1: Stereomicroscope

1A)Familiarization with the Stereomicroscope

Chapter 2: The Compound Light Microscope

2A)  Familiarization with the Compound Light Microscope

2B)Measurements using the Ocular Micrometer

2C)Microscopic Mounting Techniques

2D)Determining Refractive Index

Chapter 3: The Polarizing Light Microscope

3A)Familiarization with the Polarized Light Microscope

3B)Determining Refractive Index for Anisotropic Materials

3C)   Determining Birefringence and Sign of Elongation

Chapter 4: The Fluorescence Microscope

4A)  Familiarization with the Fluorescence Microscope

Chapter 5: The Phase Contrast Microscope

5A)  Familiarization with the Phase Contrast Microscope

Application Experiments:

Chapter 6: Physical Match Examinations

Chapter 7: Construction Examinations of Evidence

Chapter 8: Lamp Filament Examinations

Chapter 9: Fingerprint Examinations

Chapter 10: Tool mark Examinations

Chapter 11: Firearms Examinations

11A) Gunshot Residue

Chapter 12: Shoe and Tire Print/Impression Examinations

Chapter 13: Botanical Materials

Chapter 14: Paint Examinations

Chapter 15: Cigarette Butt Examinations

Chapter 16: Document Examinations

Chapter 17: Hair Examinations

17A) Animal Hair Examinations

17B) Determination of Racial and Somatic Origin

Characteristics of Human Hair 

17C) Human Hair Examinations and Comparisons

17D) Evaluation of Human Hair for DNA

Chapter 18:  Feather Examinations

Chapter 19:  Glass Breakage Determinations

19A) Glass Examinations

Chapter 20:  Textile Fiber Examinations

20A) Natural Fibers Examinations

20B) Man-made Fiber Examinations

20C) Fiber Comparisons

Chapter 21: Soil Examinations

21A) Identification of Minerals in Soil

Chapter 22: Microchemical testing – Inorganic Ions

Chapter 23: Building Materials

Chapter 24: Explosive Residue Examinations

Chapter 25: Food Condiment Examinations

Chapter 26: Plastic Film Examinations

Chapter 27: Microscopic examinations of Controlled Substances 

Chapter 28: Semen Examinations

Application Experiments, Instrumental Microscopy:

Chapter 29: Micro-FTIR

Chapter 30: Microspectrophotometry

Chapter 31: Thermal Microscopy

Chapter 32: Scanning Electron Microscopy

Chapter 33:  Case Study Scenario


A) Optical properties for natural fibers

B) Optical properties for man-made fibers

C) Michel-Levy Chart

D) Dispersion Staining Graph

E) Circle template

Glossary of Microscopy Terms


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Barbara Wheeler Eastern Kentucky University.
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