Forensic Sciences and Fluorescence with the NIGHTSEA SFA

An elegant and economical way to add fluorescence to stereo microscopes for evidence examination. I love it!
– Skip Palenik, Microtrace

Not everything has fluorescence, but when it is present it can make all the difference in detection. You can’t analyze something until you find it, and fluorescence can help in that critical step. The NIGHTSEA Model SFA Stereo Microscope Fluorescence Adapter is an inexpensive way to turn any existing stereomicroscope into a convenient go-to tool for screening trace evidence, making it easy to add this method to your suite of screening tools. Based on experience so far, we recommend the Ultraviolet and Royal Blue excitation/emission sets as the first choices for this application. As the images below demonstrate, each can provide a very different view of the same subject.

(Click any image for larger view)

First, images from two dust bunnies collected from a house:

Next a small bone fragment in dirt:

Skip Palenik of Microtrace sent us a set of images that told a very interesting story. He was trying to identify the source of an individual fiber. It appeared colorless under white light and its appearance would not have connected it to the tinted fibers in the fabric pictured below left. The fiber did not fluoresce under Ultraviolet excitation. But under Royal Blue excitation the single fiber fluoresced orange, and this enabled him to connect it to the upper horizontal fibers in the reference fabric pictured below. The images were made using a Leica EZ4W stereo microscope outfitted with the NIGHTSEA SFA system with our EZ4 adapter.

And of course with ultraviolet light you can see the hidden features in money, driver’s licenses, and other documents.