The U.S. Department of Justice has earmarked $400,000 for Illinois State to aid research and development of new crime scene investigation technology that will benefit Illinois law enforcement.

The funding will allow ISU researchers to explore the use of ambient mass spectrometry designed to help detect and identify items of interest at crime scenes.

Current protocols involve transporting samples to off-site laboratories and extensive preparation before analysis. ISU is pioneering new technology to examine substances in their natural state at the actual crime scene.

“The analysis can now be very quick in terms of looking at unknown substances, and very flexible in terms of what can be analyzed,” said Assistant Professor of Chemistry Christopher Mulligan, who is leading the ISU research team.

Findings from this project will be used to develop and deliver an optimized portable instrument for use in crime scene investigation to the National Institute of Justice for evaluation, testing, and review. “This research will really help pave the way to have technology that crime scene investigators will be able to use in the field,” Mulligan said.