Article: The Role of Collections in Trace Evidence

This quarter’s issue of The Microscope  (V. 67, Second Quarter) features an article authored by Microtrace Senior Research Microscopist Christopher Palenik. In the article, entitled “The Role of Collections in Trace Evidence,” Dr. Palenik aims to illustrate the range of benefits that reference collections and their datasets can provide to the forensic science community in casework, training, and general experience.

Microtrace has made a firm commitment to maintain and curate a wide range of reference resources at the highest possible levels. These collections are organized by unique ascension numbers in multi-relational databases, containing metadata as well as information about the source and provenance whenever possible. Maintaining and organizing these collections provides direct and indirect benefits to our clients. Many of these materials are used directly in casework to verify material identifications, while other samples are used in the context of research- broadening our general understanding of materials and the microanalytical methods we use to characterize them.


“The Role of Collections in Trace Evidence”
Christopher S. Palenik
The Microscope 67 (2), pp 51-64, 2019

In the discipline of trace evidence, collections and databases have been largely developed in an ad hoc manner, often based upon the topical questions that arise in the course of casework. The wide variety of materials encountered in this discipline, the wide range of data that may be collected from a given sample, and the relatively low frequency in which a given sample may be consulted in direct reference to a case are some of the considerations that have limited the development of more formalized collections. This article on collections in trace evidence aims to illustrate the broader range of benefits that collections and their associated datasets can provide to the forensic science community, not only in casework, but also in training and general experience.


To read more about Microtrace’s extensive reference collections, please click here.

How May We Help You?

Contact us

to discuss your project in more detail.