Errata: Construction and Characterization of an Inexpensive Electrostatic Lifter


  • Balwant S. Chohan
  • Rodney Kreuter
  • Danny G Sykes


The teaching of instrumental methods of analysis as applied to chemical and forensic science problems at many educational establishments continues to be hampered by high-cost, high-power requirements, and sheer bulk of the instrumentation. The SMILE initiative (small, mobile instruments for laboratory enhancement) that we have developed incorporates an inquiry-based project that addresses these issues by significantly engaging students, and thus enhancing the confidence and achievement of students in our technology-based analytical courses. One instrument that has been designed, constructed, and characterized is the electrostatic lifter. The electrostatic lifter is a versatile nondestructive technique that can lift and recover impressions of prints left in the dust of a floor, and from dusty walls or doors. The instrument and technique conveniently lends itself to miniaturization, and facilitates the practical application of impression analysis within standard undergraduate and advanced high school forensic science related courses. The entire instrument was constructed from scratch for less than $50, thus allowing deployment of multiple apparatuses in labs that are allocated a modest budget. Details on how to construct the instrument is provided together with some characterization data obtained from a variety of smooth and rough surfaces.

Author Biography

Balwant S. Chohan

Professor of Chemistry