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Restoration of firearm serial numbers with electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD)



Ryan White, Robert Keller


Firearm serial numbers are a critical identifying mark, and restoration of destroyed serial numbers is often crucial for prosecution of a criminal case. Currently available methods, including acid etching and relief polishing, present serious limitations… A method is presented utilizing electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) in the scanning electron microscope (SEM) which allows for clear visualization of die-stamped imprints which have been completely polished away. Evidence of the stamp can be observed to a depth of approximately 760 µm below the surface. With further development, the described method is capable of fully restoring an 8 character serial number in approximately one hour.
Forensic Science International


Forensics, Serial Number, EBSD, Firearm


White, R. and Keller, R. (2015), Restoration of firearm serial numbers with electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), Forensic Science International, [online], (Accessed July 14, 2024)


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Created February 8, 2015, Updated November 10, 2018