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Advanced Forensic Microscopy (1701) / Advanced Applied Polarized Light Microscopy (1251)


Course schedule: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday – Thursday, and 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Friday

This advanced course will review Köhler illumination and all polarized light microscopy (PLM) techniques. Single polar: shape, size, surface, homogeneity, association, transparency, color, pleochroism, image contrast, refractive indices, dispersion staining. Crossed polars: retardation, birefringence, anomalous polarization colors, extinction, sign of elongation, interference figures, correlation of optics and morphology, etc.

Observations will be applied to hair, fibers, glass, minerals, drugs, explosives, gunshot residue, white powder, and general dust samples. This course will provide students the opportunity to learn and practice the advanced skills necessary to characterize and identify suspicious white powders, organic and inorganic chemical compounds, and other substances of known and unknown identity.

This is the same course as Advanced Applied Polarized Light Microscopy (1251).

Prerequisite: PLM (1201) / Forensic Microscopy (1204), basic microscopy, or equivalent

Day 1
Review of the microscope; illumination and particle characterization methods using one polar

Day 2
Review of particle characterization using crossed polars; small particle manipulation; PLM techniques

Day 3
Methods of advanced trace evidence analysis

Day 4
Study of fibers, hairs, glass, soils, paints, and explosives; digital imaging topics

Day 5
Study of knowns and unknowns; microscope proficiency analytical test (MPAT practical exam)