Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Forensic Science


NIST is working to strengthen forensic practice through research and improved standards. Our efforts involve three key components:


We conduct scientific research in several forensic disciplines, including DNA, ballistics, fingerprint analysis, trace evidence, and digital, among others. We provide physical reference standards and data that help forensic laboratories validate their analytical methods and ensure accurate test results.




We also support CSAFE, a NIST Center of Excellence in Forensic Science, which is working to develop new statistical methods for use in evidence examination



We co-chaired, with the Department of Justice, the National Commission on Forensic Science, which formulated recommendations for the U.S. Attorney General on matters such as accreditation requirements for forensic science service providers.


We administer the Organization of Scientific Area Committees for Forensic Science (OSAC), which is facilitating the development of science-based standards and guidelines for a broad array of forensic disciplines.


Overview of Firearms Process Map

OSAC's Firearms & Toolmarks Subcommittee Develops Firearms Process Map

A scientist in lab coat and rubber gloves places a large clear bag of marijuana on a weighing scale.

NIST Study Will Help Labs Distinguish Between Hemp and Marijuana

A burning workcart. There are sensors set up all around it, and the clock on the floor reads 13:59.

The New NIST Fire Calorimetry Database Is Available to Answer Your Burning Questions

Stay in Touch

Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest research, trends, and news for Forensic Science.