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Acts of terrorism, an increase in the use of firearms, drug abuse, the use of so-called date-rape drugs, and driving whilst under the influence of drugs, are just some of the subjects frequently in the news. In the absence of fingermarks and of material leading to the recovery of DNA, the forensic scientist has to rely upon chemical analysis of trace amounts of materials including explosives, drugs, toxicological specimens, firearms discharge residues, fibres, glass, paint, soil etc., in order to establish or eliminate links between suspect and victim and/or scene. This tutorial review describes analytical problems facing the forensic chemist, and the current methods and techniques employed to tackle them.
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