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Opportunity at Defense Forensic Science Center (DFSC)

Did the Person Fire the Weapon?


Defense Forensic Science Center

RO# Location
09.01.01.B8234 Forest Park, GA 302975205


Name E-mail Phone
Salyards, Jeff 404.469.7107


Identification of Gunshot Residue at DFSC

To reach our objectives, the Defense Forensic Science Center (DFSC), under the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), will develop a method to identify the organic constituents of gunpowder in order to conclude whether a firearm was discharged. Current methodologies in gunshot residues (GSR) screen for the elements barium, lead, and antimony, the major inorganic components of GSR. This analysis provides information whether GSR is present or absent on an individual, clothing, etc., but current data and its interpretation does not precisely determine if the person fired the weapon, was in the room when the weapon was fired, or simply handled a recently discharged weapon. The remainder of the material, organic compounds are currently unaccounted. Since the majority of the gunpowder is composed of organic material, identifying the organic constituents of gunpowder, along with inorganic analysis, could source the firearm used and whether it has been discharged. Some of the organic smokeless powder constituents include nitrocellulose, diphenylamine, phthalates, ethyl centralite, and 2,4-dinitrotoluene. The method may be coupled with a liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry system for easy implementation into DFSC casework. The novel methods generated from this research project will benefit the traditional criminal and expeditionary laboratories at DFSC. Prospective applicants should have a strong background in Chemistry, Mathematics, and/or Statistics. The strongest candidates will be comfortable with organic chemistry, but application is not limited to this background.


Chemistry; Mathematics; Statistics; Organic chemistry; Gunshot residue; Trace evidence; Forensics;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral applicants
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