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The Forensic Science Research Unit provides technical leadership and advancement in forensic science for the FBI Laboratory as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through:

  • The development and validation of new forensic technologies and techniques by internal and outsourced research efforts,

  • Advanced scientific training in specialized
    forensic procedures, and

  • A full-service forensic science library, which also produces and publishes the Handbook
    of Forensic Services
    and
    Forensic Science Communications.

Unit scientists are responsible for research and development activities, validation studies, and the transition of new forensic techniques, procedures, and protocols to the caseworking Units within the Laboratory. The results and findings of completed research projects conducted by the scientists are published in scientific journals and presented to the forensic science community at professional meetings. In addition, the scientists provide advanced technical training in specialized fields such as mass spectrometry, chromatography, and DNA analysis to federal, state, and local laboratory personnel through formal training classes and symposia. Scientists in the Unit are leading experts in their respective fields and provide valuable advice and guidance to state and local law enforcement agencies on a regular basis.

The Unit operates a full-service forensic library that contains more than 9,000 scientific and technical books and 400 newspaper and journal subscriptions. Library personnel are also responsible for the production of Forensic Science Communications, an online forensic science journal, and the Handbook of Forensic Services, a manual of guidelines and procedures developed by the FBI Laboratory for the collection, preservation, and examination of forensic evidence.

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 Graphic showing ion mobility spectrometry equipment


Portable explosives detection by ion mobility spectrometry


Graphic showing short tandem repeat (STR) analysis


Short tandem repeat (STR) analysis by capillary electrophoresis (CE)


Graphic showing the Handbook of Forensic Services


CD-ROM, print, and online formats of the Handbook of Forensic Services are produced by the Forensic Science Research Unit.

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Information revised October 2000