department of chemistry and biochemistry

CHEM4341 : Forensic Chemistry


Dr. Eamonn F. Healy


Curriculum :

Forensic Journals:

Forensic Links:

Analaytical Chemistry Links:

  • Resources for Analytical Chemistry students

TOPIC: Evidence and Bayesian Probability

LECTURE: Evidence and Bayesian Probability

A Bayesian Primer
Bayesian Reasoning
Bayes' Theorem and the Law
DNA Evidence and False Positives

Forensics and Statistics

TOPIC: Drug Analysis

LECTURE: Extraction, Characterization and Isolation

  • Drug Scheduling : Bell, pages 213-227
  • Drug Chemistry: Bell, pages 267-272
  • Chemical Solubility : Bell, pages 92-101
  • Liquid-Liquid extraction : Bell, pages 102-107
  • Solid-Liquid extraction : Bell, pages 108-11; 116-120; 337-342

LECTURE: Presumptive Tests

  • Light & Color: Bell, pages 271-280
  • UV/Vis Spectroscopy: Bell, pages 149-162
  • Marquis test: Bell, pages 282-283
  • Scott test : Bell, pages 289-293

LECTURE: Characterization by GC-MS

  • GC and MS: Bell, pages 194-203
  • Mass Spectra : Bell, pages 351-352
  • Gas Chromatographs : Bell, pages 236-237; 438-439

CASE STUDY I : "Drugs on Money", Anal. Chem., June 1, 2000; pp. 397 A-403 A

Forensic Toxicology


Animated GC Movie

MS for the Novice
GC/MS For Chromatographers
Animated GC/MS Movie
Mass Spec Tutorial

TOPIC: Statistics I

LECTURE: Basic Concepts

  • Data: Quality & Certainty : Bell, pages 15-27
  • Hypothesis : G test and t test Bell, pages 27-35


Neutron Activation Analysis
JFK Assassination Video
JFK Assassination Files

Forensics and Statistics

TOPIC: Forensic Toxicology

LECTURE: Basic Concepts

  • An Overview of Pharmacology : Bell, Chapter 6, pages 239-262


  • Toxicology; including physical, chemical and spectroscopic properties
  • Pathology
  • Pharmacodynamics; icluding affected biochemical pathways
  • Pharmacokinetics; including metabolism and cross-tolerance
  • Forensics; including origin, delivery and detection
  • Treatment


Ethylene Glycol, Methanol and Isopropanol
SeungYoun. S.
Fri. April 15.
Arsenic and Arsenates
Elizabeth A.
Fri. April 15
Saxitoxin, Tetradotoxins and Batrachotoxins
Alyseia A.
Mon. April 18.
Morphine & Synthetic Opiates
Kayla R.
Mon. April 18
Diquat and Paraquat
Jessica S.
Wed. April 20.
Salicylic Acid and Salicylates
Leo A.
Wed April 20
Phenobarbital and Barbiturates
Ashley C.
Fri April 22
Amitriptyline and Tricyclics
Servando S.
Fri April 22
Crotalid, Elapid and Snake Venoms
Nessa W.
Mon. April 25
Parathion and Organophosphates
Jeff M.
Mon. April 25
Daniella C.
Wed. April 27
Patrick M.
Wed. April 27
DDT and Hexachlorophene
Audrey A.
Fri. April 29
Caffeine & the Methylxanthines
Stephanie L.
Fri. April 29
Cardiac Glycosides
Atropine & Scopolamine
Muscarine & Coprine
PCP and Ketamine


CASE STUDY I : CASE STUDY I : "False Cyanide Detection", Anal. Chem., March 1, 2002 / volume 74, issue 5 /pp 134 A-141 A ; "Arsenic Speciation", Anal. Chem., Volume 76, Issue 1
pp 1 A–40 A.

Forensic Toxicology


TOPIC: DNA : Profiling and Fingerprinting

LECTURE: DNA Basic Concepts

LECTURE: DNA testing

LECTURE: STRs and Population Analysis

  • Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism analysis
  • Variable Number Tandem Repeat analysis
  • Short Tandem Repeat analysis
  • Mitochondrial DNA analysis
  • Population genetics and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium
  • Allele frequency and the CODIS database
  • Power of Discrimination & Power of Exclusion

CASE STUDY I : "The Forensic Community’s Response to September 11", Anal. Chem., April 1, 2002 / volume 74, issue 7 / pp 190 A-195 A

DNA From the Beginning
PCR Graphic
RFLP Analysis
Forensic DNA

TOPIC: Statistics II

LECTURE: Calibration

  • Regression Analysis : Bell, pages 74-81
  • GC-MS & HPLC


Neutron Activation Analysis
JFK Assassination Video
JFK Assassination Files

Forensics and Statistics

TOPIC: Combustion and Explosion

LECTURE: Arson and Explosives

  • Thermodynaics and Kinetics of Combustion : Bell, pages 384--407
  • Arson Investigation Bell, pages 432-440.
  • Detonation and Explosion : Bell, pages 413--428
  • Explosives Bell, pages 448-457.

CASE STUDY I : "A Detection of Explosives by Electronic Noses.", Anal. Chem., Volume 75, Issue 5
pp 81 A–128 A ; "Chemical Analysis of Arson Debris", Anal. Chem., Volume 68 (1996),
pp 541A



Federal Explosives Law