Section for Microtraces Analysis

General information

There are 10 people employed in the Section: 8 chemists, and 2 commodity scientists, 6 of whom have a PhD degree and 2 of whom are Assoc. Professors.

Head of Section

Prof. Janina Zięba-Palus

The range of expertise covers:

- Microtraces

  • identification and comparative analysis of contact traces such as like bits of car paint, glass, plastics, soil, single fibres and fragments of textiles found on the crime scene as well as during examination of evidence material sent to the Institute,
  • examination of gun shot residue in order to estimate the shot distance and to link the suspect with the use of a gun as well as to identify the kind of ammunition,
  • identification of the kind of flammable liquid in fire debris as well as on the clothing of the suspect,
  • identification of explosive materials.

- Macrotraces

  • footwear and tyre impressions examination,
  • toolmarks examination.

- Event reconstruction

  • criminalistic reconstruction of the event on the basis of the analysis of case files and material evidence, e.g. establishing the mechanism of: striking somebody, the occurrence of traces, the depositing of blood traces on the surface of various substrates and falls from a height,
  • establishing whether an incident was a result of a homicide, suicide or accident, taking into account information included in case files, autopsy and testimonies of witnesses.

We make use of European data bases as well as our own data bases and collections containing information about the composition, physical properties, origin and producer of various kinds of materials, when identifying the examined materials.


  • optical microscopes: stereoscopic, polarising, fluorescence and comparative;
  • scanning electron microscope with X-ray microanalysis;
  • infrared, visible light, X-ray, and Raman spectrometers;
  • gas chromatograph with FID and mass detector;
  • liquid chromatograph with DAD;
  • workstation for glass refractive index measurement;
  • workstation for hair and fibres examination.

Selected papers:

  1. Borusiewicz R., A Review of Methods of Preparing Samples for Chromatographic Analysis for the Presence of Organic Explosive Substances, Problems of Forensic Sciences 2007, 69, 5-29.
  2. Zięba-Palus J., Zadora G., Milczarek J. M., Differentiation and evaluation of evidence value of styrene acrylic urethane topcoat car paints analysed by pyrolysis-gas chromatography, Journal of Chomatography A 2008, 1179, 47–58.
  3. Zadora G., Trzcińska B. M., The Evidential Value of Transfer Evidences – A Hit-and-Run Accident, Problems of Forensic Sciences, 2008, 73, 70–81.
  4. Wąs-Gubała Jolanta, The kinetics of colour change in textiles and fibres treated with detergent solutions: Part I - Colour perception and fluorescence microscopy analysis, Science & Justice, 2009.
  5. Brożek-Mucha Z., Distribution and properties of gunshot residue originating from a Luger 9 mm ammunition in the vicinity of the shooting gun, Forensic Science International, 2009, 183, 33-44.
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