Volume 31, Issue 1 (January 1986)
Detection of Bullet Residue in Bone Using Proton-Induced X-Ray Emission (PIXE) Analysis
External beam proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) analysis has been used to verify the presence of lead in the finger bone of a murder victim. The deceased, who had been buried several years, was known to have suffered a bullet wound to his right hand several yers before death. X-ray radiographs of the right second proximal phalanx revealed the possible presence of metal fragments below the surface of the bone. To verify the presence of lead in a nondestructive manner, the bone was scanned with a 1.5-MeV proton beam. PIXE analysis showed that lead was present only in the vicinity of the fragments previously detected in the radiographs. A study of gunshot residue in bone shows that the distribution of lead around the bullet hole is independent of the firing distance for distances greater than 0.6 m.