Forensic scientists are tasked with the job of studying material that is left behind. Within the field of forensic science, this can mean studying the evidence of past massacres, epidemics, and current crime scenes. By studying all possible evidence, forensic scientists hope to determine the perpetrators of crimes or causes of situations. In this important work, handheld digital microscopes help forensic scientists gather detailed evidence from the scene itself.
While most people imagine microscopes safely secured within the confines of a fluorescent-lit lab, hand microscopes are often used in the field to make important discoveries. Today, these instruments assist in these four fields of forensic science.
While epidemiology is the study of how diseases spread, forensic epidemiology involves pursuing the study of where diseases originated. For instance, a forensic epidemiologist may be tasked with discovering the original source of a salmonella or E. coli outbreak, and to do that, they’ll need to use a microscope. By using a handheld digital microscope to look for signs of contamination, forensic scientists can easily see enhanced images of bacteria strains and project those on large screens for group examination.
Even the most microscopic parts of a crime scene can lead to a break in the case. In fact, as anyone who has ever seen a TV crime procedural knows, forensic science has revolutionized the way we investigate and respond to crime. Mobile crime scene investigation units can use portable hand microscopes when they first get to the crime scene, thereby gathering the most accurate evidence. Forensic scientists need to study the smallest details, such as striations on bullets to determine what gun was used in a crime. The human body contains between 75 and 100 trillion cells, all of which uniquely identify a human. Forensic scientists can examine every trace skin cell, fingernail clipping, or hair found in a crime scene to determine the culprit.
The responsibility of a forensic pathologist is to determine how a person has died. A handheld digital microscope allows the forensic pathologist to closely examine the tissue around a wound and then project it on a larger screen. This close look helps in determining the weapon or object used to cause the wound. If the subject died from a disease, a forensic pathologist may use a microscope for inspections of the deadly bacteria or virus present in the victim’s tissue.
As a field that focuses on the past, forensic anthropology uses microscopes to study bone, tissue, and other remains that can reveal mysteries of the past. For instance, after an archeological find, forensic anthropologists can use scientific instruments like hand microscopes to pinpoint the cause of a death that occurred thousands of years ago. Likewise, they can make important discoveries about an ancient civilization’s diet or way of life. Even when the remains of a person have been liquefied, electron microscopes can look at a deposit in the soil to identify those remains.
Handheld microscopes are an important tool for forensic scientists as they allow for a closer look at minuscule objects. Without these microscopes, forensic scientists couldn’t examine the evidence that breaks cases, identifies the source of an outbreak, or reveals the secrets of ancient man.