The Forensic Science Center (FSC) is among the leading facilities for collecting and analyzing virtually any kind of evidence, some of it no greater than a few billionths of a gram. Our expertise in ultratrace chemical and isotopic analyses of nuclear, inorganic, organic (chemical warfare agents, illegal drugs, explosives), and biological (toxins, DNA) materials combined with state-of-the-art science and technology enable us to support LLNL’s national security missions.
The FSC also develops new technologies for detecting and characterizing the source of weapons materials. One major focus is adapting forensic analysis technologies for field use. Key technologies include solid-phase micro-extraction kits for rapid sampling of organic molecules as well as resonance ionization mass spectrometry, a laser-based technique for taking rapid and high-accuracy isotopic measurements of plutonium and uranium. Among LLNL’s recent forensic developments is a new protein identification technique that offers another tool to law enforcement authorities for crime scene investigations and archaeologists.