S. Hann, C. Latkoczy, T.L. Bereuter, T. Prohaska, G. Stingeder, C. Reiter:
"Reconstruction of a case of thallium poisoning using LA-ICP-SFMS";
International Journal of Legal Medicine,
The unique capabilities of laser ablation in combination with inductively
coupled plasma sector field mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-SFMS) were employed
to reconstruct details of a homicide by thallium poisoning, which took
place 38 years ago in Austria. Thallium was determined in several human
bone samples after acid digestion in a microwave oven. The ICP-SFMS
results showed that the thallium concentration in the victim's bones was
in the range 1.07-2.63 microg g(-1), which is up to 170 times higher
compared to concentrations found in bones of persons who have died due to
natural causes. The results were in accordance with the values obtained
by graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GF-AAS). Laser
ablation ICP-SFMS was applied to assess the time interval between the
victim's poisoning and death.
Several line scans with a laser spot size of 50 mum were performed on a
thumbnail of the poisoned person and on a reference thumbnail by laser
ablation ICP-SFMS. Thallium peaks were detected on the nail of the victim
at a distance of 2.5 mm from the younger edge of the nail.
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