Forensic specialists present new analytical strategies for identification of hoax bioterrorism powders

Specialists in forensic science will explain how Morphologically Directed Raman Spectroscopy (MDRS), a relatively new analytical technique for  component-specific particle size and shape analysis, can be used to analyze hoax powders used in bioterrorism attacks, at the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 2015 conference, February 16 – 25 2015, Orlando.

Dr Andrew Koutrakos will present research carried out with Dr Brooke Kammrath at the University of New Haven which shows how MDRS, as implemented with the Morphologi G3-ID from Malvern Instruments, can rapidly and reliably analyze unidentified white powders during forensic investigations. The paper is entitled “Forensic Analysis of Hoax Powders using Morphologically Directed Raman Spectroscopy”, and will be presented at 11:00 on Friday February 20. Malvern will exhibit the Morphologi on booth #316 and experts will also be present to demonstrate how MDRS is performed.

Hoax white powders often contain a variety of commercial substances, such as artificial sweeteners, flour and chalk. These may be detectable on the basis of variations in particle size and shape but also exhibit clear chemical differences which can be used to differentiate morphologically similar powders. The Morphologi G3-ID MDRS workflow combines the capabilities of image analysis for particle size and shape analysis with chemical identification by Raman spectroscopy, providing an efficient technique for this type of detailed analysis. More generally MDRS has a range of applications in forensics, providing non-destructive analysis that does not require contact with the sample, for rapid and reliable results.

American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) 2015 will take place from February 16 – 25 2015, in Orlando. For more information visit

For more information on Malvern’s Morphologi range, visit