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Issue 18, 2013

Solid-state Forensic Finger sensor for integrated sampling and detection of gunshot residue and explosives: towards ‘Lab-on-a-finger’

Author affiliations

Abstract

Increasing security needs require field-deployable, on-the-spot detection tools for the rapid and reliable identification of gunshot residue (GSR) and nitroaromatic explosive compounds. This manuscript presents a simple, all-solid-state, wearable fingertip sensor for the rapid on-site voltammetric screening of GSR and explosive surface residues. To fabricate the new Forensic Fingers, we screen-print a three-electrode setup onto a nitrile finger cot, and coat another finger cot with an ionogel electrolyte layer. The new integrated sampling/detection methodology relies on ‘voltammetry of microparticles’ (VMP) and involves an initial mechanical transfer of trace amounts of surface-confined analytes directly onto the fingertip-based electrode contingent. Voltammetric measurements of the sample residues are carried out upon bringing the working electrode (printed on the index finger cot) in direct contact with a second finger cot coated with an ionogel electrolyte (worn on the thumb), thus completing the solid-state electrochemical cell. Sampling and screening are performed in less than four minutes and generate distinct voltammetric fingerprints which are specific to both GSR and explosives. The use of the solid, flexible ionogel electrolyte eliminates any liquid handling which can resolve problems associated with leakage, portability and contamination. A detailed study reveals that the fingertip detection system can rapidly identify residues of GSR and nitroaromatic compounds with high specificity, without compromising its attractive behavior even after undergoing repeated mechanical stress. This new integrated sampling/detection fingertip strategy holds considerable promise as a rapid, effective and low-cost approach for on-site crime scene investigations in various forensic scenarios.

Graphical abstract: Solid-state Forensic Finger sensor for integrated sampling and detection of gunshot residue and explosives: towards ‘Lab-on-a-finger’

Article information


Submitted
14 Jun 2013
Accepted
10 Jul 2013
First published
11 Jul 2013

This article is Open Access

Analyst, 2013,138, 5288-5295
Article type
Paper

Solid-state Forensic Finger sensor for integrated sampling and detection of gunshot residue and explosives: towards ‘Lab-on-a-finger’

A. J. Bandodkar, A. M. O'Mahony, J. Ramírez, I. A. Samek, S. M. Anderson, J. R. Windmiller and J. Wang, Analyst, 2013, 138, 5288 DOI: 10.1039/C3AN01179H

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

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