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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis-ISU Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Chemistry

First Advisor

Christopher C. Mulligan


The extensive nature of forensic evidence in combination with the limitations and drawbacks associated with current analytical instrumentation has caused forensic laboratories to experience dramatic increases in evidentiary backlogs. This has created the need for more proactive technologies that can expedite investigations by providing law enforcement personnel with the necessary information in a timely manner. Ambient-sampling, portable mass spectrometric (MS) systems coupled with ambient ionization methods have the potential to revolutionize forensic science by permitting chemical analysis to take place at the scene of the crime, significantly reducing the magnitude of collected evidence and subsequently reducing evidentiary backlogs.

The objectives of the validation and application studies described in this thesis act to support the implementation of an ambient-sampling, portable MS system capable of on-site forensic analysis. Validation studies were demonstrated by developing a streamlined paper spray ionization (PSI source) and comparing generated spectral data to an established commercial spectral reference library. Of equal importance, various applications were developed to show applicability to numerous forms of forensic evidence existing as single and multi-component samples related to gunshot residue (GSR), abused pharmaceuticals, and illicit drugs produced in clandestine settings.


Imported from ProQuest OLeary_ilstu_0092N_10526.pdf


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Available for download on Tuesday, July 01, 2025

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