X-ray Scattering and Chemometrics as Tools to Assist in the Identification of Gunshot Residues by Wavelength Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometry


J. Braz. Chem. Soc.




Wavelength dispersion X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (WDXRF) is a non-destructive technique and therefore attractive for gunshot residues (GSR) analysis. It is well known for determination of inorganic constituents of samples. However, X-ray scattering region spectral data is not commonly used, although it may provide information about organic constituents and their interactions. This work employed X-ray scattering region and inorganic elements spectral data for a better characterization of GSR. Swabs containing residues collected from the hand of people who fired (shooters group) and also from the hands of people which did not fire (control group) with guns were analyzed directly by the WDXRF. Brake pad and people who perform activities that favor the accumulation of characteristic elements of GSR on their hands were chosen to compose the control group. Principal components analysis (PCA) discriminated the GSR according to the firearm/cartridge used. However, similar GSR clustering did not occur without X-ray scatter data, showing the importance of X-ray scattering spectrum for GSR evaluation. The k-nearest neighbors (k-NN) method correctly classified all samples from shooters and control groups, employing from 1 to 5 nearest neighbors. No anomalous behavior was detected by PCA and hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA).

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