Tracking glitter particles from a university building

A team of forensic researchers from Soonchunhyang University in South Korea have determined that glitter can be used to track a person’s location in a university building.

Hong, S., Cho, H., Son, D. and Lee, S. (2015). A study on the distribution of glitter particles from an university building. Analytical Science and Technology, 28(4), pp.288-298.


“A distribution study of glitter was conducted from a local university building. The potential recipient surfaces chosen were the 1,000 chairs kept in 16 separate classrooms of the building. The surface of chairs contacting with buttocks and back of users were tape lifted with commercial adhesive tapes …  the authors could find that the classrooms where the same glitters were found were shared by a group of students who listen to the same class.”

After visual analysis with a microscope, the team used Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy to determine the amount of light absorbed by each piece of glitter, ensuring they could find matches of the same type of glitter. They conclude:

“This result indicates that the possibility of glitter finding from Korean violent crime scene is high.”

Bonus: Glitter can also be used to help act as a pregnancy test for rhinos