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Minerva Forensic Medicine 2022 December;142(4):58-65

DOI: 10.23736/S2784-8922.22.01820-9

Copyright © 2022 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

A narrative review of peculiar forensic-pathological applications of scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM/EDX)

Stefano TAMBUZZI, Guendalina GENTILE, Michele BORACCHI, Riccardo ZOJA

Section of Forensic Medicine and Insurance, Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Laboratory of Forensic Histopathology and Forensic Medical Microbiology, University of Milan, Milan, Italy



The application of scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray analysis (SEM/EDX) to the main types of injuries from a forensic point of view, such as blunt force trauma, ligature strangulation, electricity, sharp force trauma, gunshot wounds, and chemical injuries, is a well-known topic that has been extensively discussed in the literature. However, the use of SEM-EDX is not limited to the above-mentioned cases, and its extreme versatility leads to the successful application of this technique in other forensic contexts. For this reason, all of the particular applications that have been reported in the literature to date are presented and discussed in this narrative review. Indeed, there are several under-researched forensic areas and unusual pathological scenarios in which this technique can be used and could prove to be crucial. Therefore, our goal is twofold: to highlight the versatility of SEM-EDX analysis in the forensic field and to provide the scientific community with a unique document reporting all possible forensic pathological applications that have been investigated to date, including unusual and solitary ones, in order to provide a procedural vademecum when needed.


KEY WORDS: Forensic pathology; Forensic sciences; X-rays

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