Synthesis of impurities found in clandestine laboratories

(Assoc Professor Martin Johnston)

This project is in collaboration with Forensic Science South  Australia.  In the manufacture of clandestine methamphetamine, the reagents and methods used produce characteristic by-products. 

These organic materials can be used as marker compounds to allow investigators to identify the reagents and method used in clandestine laboratories.  We aim to synthesise several of these by-products directly so that they can be used as standards by the Forensic Science Centre.

Trace evidence, trace residues and illicit drugs

(Professor Paul Kirkbride)

My interests in trace evidence cover gunshot residues, glass fragments, textile fibres and paint and finding new ways of tackling the examination of minute fragments of these materials that are associated with crime. In regards to trace residues my research relates to the application of advanced techniques, in particular mass spectrometry, to the detection of explosives residues, flammable liquids associated with arson and drug traces in human tissues (forensic toxicology). I was a drugs analyst and clandestine drug laboratory examiner for many years and I have a major research interest involving the investigation of the illicit manufacture of drugs. 

Analytical Chemistry

Potentially portable technologies

(Professor Claire Lenehan)

The emphasis of my group's research is on the development and rapid, reliable and potentially portable technologies for automated chemical measurement in industrial, medical, forensic and environmental areas.  This research will target the development of simple instrumentation and/or novel chemistries for the analysis of a variety of compounds including inorganic and organic analytes.

Current projects within my research group involve external collaboration with DST Group, FSSA, SA Museum and Deakin University, along with internal collaboration with other Flinders researchers and include:

  • Separations based on capillary electrophoresis with applications in forensic and environmental chemistry
  • Analysis of explosives and their residues
  • Analysis of minerals
  • Analysis of artworks
  • Analytical applications of chemiluminescence

Advanced analytical techniques

(Assoc Professor Stewart Walker)

Associate Professor Stewart Walker's research interests cover the application of advanced analytical techniques to solve problems in the areas of Analytical, Environmental, Industrial, Forensic and Medical arenas.  

He has undertaken collaborative research projects and forensic investigations with and for Forensic Science South Australia, Australian Federal Police, CSIRO, ACFSS (Australian Centre for Forensic Soil Science), AWRI, DST Group, International Atomic Energy Agency, United Nations Development Program, other universities and other partners.

Current projects

  • Laser ablation - high resolution - multi collector - ICP MS for comparison and profiling for forensic and environmental investigations
  • Electrochemical analysis of explosives and drugs
  • Forensic Volatile analysis of explosives and drugs
  • Environmental forensics - corals and sea cucumbers
    • Analysis of coral cores to detect heavy metal contamination
    • Extraction and analysis of fluorescent bands in black corals
    • Analysis of elemental ratios in corals to determine global warming and localised thermal excursions
    • Sea cucumbers as bio-monitors and bio-remediators
  • Post-mortem decay of benzodiazepines
  • Mass spectrometry and related project
  • Condom differentiation
  • Early detection of cancer (with Flinders Medical Centre)