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Voltammetric detection of barium in gunshot residues

This project involves developing a voltammetric method for barium detection. In particular, I am interested in being able to detect barium in gunshot residues (GSR). GSR samples are identified by the presence of barium, lead and antimony (antimony is not always present). Currently the analysis of samples collected at crime scene for the presence of GSR can only be done off site in a laboratory using scanning electron microscope (SEM) instrument. However, it would be highly beneficial to have an onsite preliminary test to determine whether the collected sample does indeed contain barium and lead, that will reduce the number of samples needed to be analysed using SEM, which is both time consuming and expensive. This project will allow you to gain skills in the use of voltammetric equipment, ICP-OES instrument, improve your pipetting skills, standard preparation, method development and GSR sample collection and digestion. You will also learn some fundamentals of SEM theory and how to identify gunshot residues with SEM. You will need to have a sound background in analytical chemistry, interest in forensics and use of analytical instruments.


Dr Magdalena Wajrak
ChemCentre, Dr Kari Pitts

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