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Surface and Trace Chemical Analysis Group

The Surface and Trace Chemical Analysis Group develops, improves and standardizes analytical techniques used for the elemental, organic, isotopic, and morphological characterization of surfaces, thin films and particles. Develops novel methods of chemical analysis based on optical microscopy, mass spectrometry, chromatography, ion mobility spectrometry, and optical spectroscopy.

The Surface and Trace Chemical Analysis Group is one of eight groups within the Materials Measurement Science Division. Our group supports the NIST mission in Safety, Security and Forensics with projects ranging from developing and standardizing contraband screening technologies to nuclear particle analysis and forensics. We perform basic research in development of new technologies for the detection of trace particles and thin films on surfaces, sampling, instrument optimization and development of standards.

News and Updates

Projects and Programs

Aerodynamic Flow Visualization

This effort uses advanced fluid flow visualization and flow diagnostic techniques to better-understand the role of fluid dynamics in our Safety & Security focus

Fingerprint Chemistry

The goal of this focus area is to leverage the wealth of chemical information present in fingerprint deposits for novel forensic applications. This includes

Fire Debris and Explosives

The goal of this focus area is to enhance the measurement science capabilities and address measurement science challenges present in the analysis of fire debris

Forensic Chemistry

The NIST Forensic Chemistry Measurement Program aims to both develop and facilitate the implementation of scientifically valid, robust measurement tools for the

Glass Evidence Analysis

T he goal of this focus area is to improve the field of glass evidence analysis by developing new matrix-matched glass standards and by evaluating more

Illicit Narcotics Detection

NIST is measuring the trace chemical signatures and quantities of trace residues and background levels that contaminate surfaces associated with the concealment

Inkjet Printing and Precision Deposition

The ability to deposit small amounts of material in a highly controllable and precise fashion is important for creating test materials for trace detection



Press Coverage


Group Leader

Office Manager

Group Safety Representative