Chemists, forensic examiners, metallurgists, and instrument managers.
Analyze unknown powders, liquids, and stains to determine the chemical identity or characteristics. The cases assigned to this subunit usually involve threat letters, dyes, and tear gases associated with bank dye packs, drug and pharmaceutical analyses, ink analyses, and the analysis of personal lubricants and spermicides in sexual assault cases.
Conduct metallurgical analysis of materials. This is a specialty discipline that few forensic laboratories have available. Therefore, this subunit receives a large number of cases from other federal agencies, as well as state and local contributors. FBI cases submitted to this subunit tend to involve major bombing investigations.
Paints & Polymers
Analyze paints, tapes, adhesives, and other polymeric materials for possible fracture matches; compare questioned or transferred materials to items of known origin; and provide investigative lead information through sourcing of automotive paints, duct tapes, and some vehicle parts. The cases submitted to this subunit tend to evolve from hit-and-runs, abductions, (attempted) bombings, threat letters, and counterterrorism investigations.
Analyze biological samples and food evidence for the presence of poisons and drugs. In addition to the numerous case submissions from FBI field office investigations, this subunit provides substantial support to state and local agencies who lack appropriate resources to carry out needed toxicological examinations.
Instrument Operation & Support
Maintain and repair all of the Chemistry Unit’s analytical instrumentation while ensuring that all are fully compliant with quality assurance mandates. While this subunit is not directly involved in case analyses, it is responsible for over 175 different instruments within the Chemistry Unit.