Forensic firearm and toolmark identification is based on comparing the surface topography of forensic samples. There is a fundamental need for objective metrics and uncertainty estimates to quantify the similarity between two surfaces so that objective decisions about common origin can be made with clear statements of uncertainty. Therefore:
- We conduct research to provide a scientific foundation for forensic identification. Our focus is on metrics and algorithms for objective identification, and on rigorous methods to estimate the uncertainty (or error rate) of a forensic conclusion.
- We collaborate on the characterization and improvement of measurement techniques and on documentary standards for measurement assurance. NIST SRM bullets, SRM cartridge cases, and control procedures have been used in US and foreign crime labs for quality control, that has made NIST world leader in this field.
- We provide web access to topography data of our master SRM 2460 Standard Bullets and SRM 2461 Standard Cartridge Cases to enable customers to assess their measurement accuracy of the distributed SRM units.
Surface topography affects the functionality of manufactured parts. To control topography, industry requires increasingly advanced measurement methods.
- The project provides best-in-class calibrations, SRMs, and reference software for surface roughness, step height, and parameters quantifying microform. The SI-traceability of most topography measurements in the U.S. relies on this service.
- We provide surface and microform calibrations with uncertainty levels that are among the world's best. We are the leader in developing documentary standards, and conducting research to provide a sound basis for optical measurement methods.
- We provide an interactive website, the Surface Metrology Algorithm Testing System (SMATS), for quantitative assessment of surface topography software. The user can download or upload surface profiles and topography images and compare our calculated parameter values with those obtained by the user's software.