FIRMS Inter-Laboratory Comparisons

From time to time, the FIRMS Network organises Inter-Laboratory Comparison exercises with the aim of harmonising and validating isotopic measurements to be used for forensic applications. In past ILCs, the samples distributed comprised materials of potential forensic interest such as packaging and pharmaceuticals to be analysed for δ2H, δ13C, δ15N and δ18O composition. As many as 30 international laboratories participated in these comparisons. Results have shown overall improvements for both within- and inter-laboratory reproducibility with respect to δ13C and δ15N measurements.

Only a small number of laboratories have returned results for δ2H and δ18O analysis. These results have highlighted a need for improvement in the reproducibility of these measurements and a need to address the exchange of hydrogen between samples and ambient moisture.

Results have also highlighted the importance of sample preparation procedures and the need to standardise both these procedures and calibration against Standard Reference Materials.

Future Inter-Laboratory Comparison exercises will assess the suitability of laboratories to submit data to national and international databases similar to those currently operated for fingerprints, DNA etc.

© 2015 FIRMS