Volume 48, Issue 5 (September 2003)
Characterization of Condom Lubricant Components Using Raman Spectroscopy and Raman Chemical Imaging
A condom can be described as a protective sheath used as a contraceptive or to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. However, individuals also use condoms during the commission of sexual assaults to prevent identification through deposited biological material. Raman spectroscopy offers a novel approach to identifying the presence of condom lubricant components. Furthermore, Raman chemical imaging expands on conventional Raman spectroscopy to characterize multiple condom lubricant components simultaneously in a manner that effectively demonstrates heterogeneous sample mixtures both spectrally and spatially. Known reference materials, liquid and solid lubricant components of common condom brands were successfully characterized using Raman dispersive spectroscopy and Raman chemical imaging without extensive sample preparation inherent to other analytical methods. The characterization of these materials demonstrates the potential of this technique to become a routine screening method for condom lubricants. This preliminary investigation provides a basis for future studies to determine the feasibility of Raman spectroscopy and Raman chemical imaging for condom lubricant trace detection in case type samples.