Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Contact:  Sarah Chinn

The Forensic Science & Assessments (FS&A) group delivers advanced chemical forensics, analysis, and research support to multiple internal and external programs. Our group provides much of the core staff of the Forensic Science Center and supports the larger mission of all-CBRNE forensics and operational support to the nation. The Forensic Science Center  (FSC) is one of the two US laboratories designated and certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to analyze samples obtained as part of Chemical Weapons Convention challenge inspections. In addition, the FSC maintains ISO accreditation under ISO 17025 for chemical, explosive, and nuclear analysis processes, and strictly adheres to Department of Justice chain-of-custody procedures as part of the sample analysis process.

In addition to supporting the FSC's operational missions, the FS&A group performs fundamental research aimed at understanding physicochemical and physiological effects of chemical threat agents. Our research includes evaluating novel chemical synthesis methods and specific chemical signatures associated with these methods, analytical method development to determine and support source forensics studies, investigations of biomedical exposure signatures, consequence management activities, and the development of environmental and medical countermeasures.

Other scientific thrust areas include new initiatives to develop new human/biometric identification tools such as nondestructive fingerprint evaluation and protein--based human identification capabilities. We also provide material forensic support to programs in WCI, NIF, and support other GS missions. Through our integration with the US Intelligence Community and the Counterproliferation Analysis and Planning System  (CAPS), our group delivers comprehensive analysis, policy, and operational support germane to counter-proliferation, counterterrorism, and homeland security.

Our capabilities include chemical surety facilities for handling neat chemical agent synthesis activities and a wide array of advanced analytical tools for environmental and biomedical sample analysis, such as mass spectrometry (including high-resolution tandem MS and time of flight MS) coupled to one-and two-dimensional gas chromatography and liquid chromatography systems, nuclear magnetic resonance (systems ranging from 20-600 MHz, including cryoprobe and LC-NMR-MS capabilities), and other techniques such as GC-IR and element-specific GC-MS based detection systems.