Applied Polarized Light Microscopy for Trace Evidence Examiners

Applied Polarized Light Microscopy for Trace Evidence Examiners


April 2018


Polarized light microscopy (PLM) is a technique commonly used in the field of forensic science. PLM characterizes and identifies trace evidence found at crime scenes, such as fibers, hairs, paints, and glass fragments. This workshop introduced attendees to the theory and applications of PLM utilizing a combination of lecture and laboratory activities. Topics included proper microscope setup, refractive index measurement, basic optical crystallography, retardation and birefringence, extinction characteristics, and compensators. Read the in-brief to learn more about this workshop.

“This workshop not only served as an excellent introductory course to polarized light microscopy for beginners, but also as great refresher course for experienced trace evidence examiners.”

- Workshop Attendee

Funding for this Forensic Technology Center of Excellence report was provided by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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