While MALDI MSI has thus far been most heavily utilized in the fields of pharmacology, analytical chemistry, and "omics" level studies, this technology offers tremendous opportunities in the field of forensic science as well. MALDI MSI can be used to examine a variety of types of evidence, such as fingerprints, hair, and fibers, from crime scenes at a deep biomolecular level while preserving important patterns in the analytical data that may be important factors in the events leading up to a crime.

It is essential that forensic researchers utilize highly effective analytical techniques that produce results with the highest level of confidence so that evidence can be upheld in court.  Thanks to the large dynamic range of MALDI mass spectrometers, researchers are able to analyze a wide range of compounds in unknown samples. Information on both endogenous and exogenous compounds can be obtained in a single experiment without extensive sample separation and preparation.

HTX Application Note #50

In one simple experiment, hundreds of compounds were able to be associated with five different fingerprints. This technology allows for forensic scientists to utilize a non-targeted approach to investigate trace evidence from a single fingerprint found at a crime scene while preserving the fingerprint pattern for suspect identification.

HTX Application Note #51

MALDI-FTICR-MS imaging showed the presence of cocaine in hair samples, showing the use of MALDI-MS imaging in forensic toxicology.