Microtrace provides both long term and short term scientific support to various national and international government agencies through analysis, research and teaching.


Department of Homeland Security and Customs

While most laboratories rely upon standardized methods, Microtrace utilizes a sample driven approach that takes advantage of a wide range of analytical instrumentation and manual interpretation for the purpose of obtaining the most detailed information possible.  We work with a variety of government agencies to provide geographic sourcing information (determining the geographic location of dust and soil samples) and activity signatures (determining or confirming the occurence or extent of a particular activity from a given sample).  In other cases, we provide scientific support that relies on our extensive experience with a wide range of materials and analytical methods to provide results and interpretation that can exceed results obtainable under the conditions of typical laboratories.



In the instance of an accident, threat, spill, fall, or other event, the ability to quickly establish facts can help to stabilize a situation and mitigate potential liabilities.  While crime laboratories and federal laboratories can have backlogs of six months to a year and are limited to analyses specified by standardized procedures, Microtrace can provide a fast turnaround and an analysis tailored to the circumstances of a specific event.  The result of such an analysis, which is firmly rooted in science, can be relied upon to make informed decisions and, when necessary, as scientific support in a trial.


Crime Laboratories

A great deal of our public reputation is based upon our track record in providing assistance in investigations that are beyond the capabilities of local, state, and federal crime laboratories.  The flexibility of our sample driven approach permits us to examine evidence in a more creative manner.  Such requests range from traditional forensic requests, such as hairfiberglass and paint comparisons, to more detailed investigations, which include:

  • Complex investigations – We have been involved in some of the most complex forensic cases and longest running investigations.
  • Investigative analysis – Developing investigative leads from trace evidence when no reference samples are available.
  • Unknown identifications – Identification of completely unknown homogenous and heterogeneous solids, liquids, residues and gases.
  • Soil and dust analysis – Our scientists have been practicing and developing the science of forensic soil identification for over four decades.
  • Hair analysis – Human hair comparisons and animal hair identification based on extensive physical reference collections.
  • Degraded evidence – We have obtained valid evidence from numerous samples rejected by other laboratories (due to sample size, degradation, or type of evidence)
  • Colorant analysis – We have one of the most advanced approaches for classification and identification of colorants.
  • Nanoscale materials – Locating and obtaining useful information from evidence at smaller scales than are accessible in other laboratories.




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