The Physical Examination Section covers the greatest variety of specialised areas in forensic science, from textile fibre examinations, examinations of weapons, traces of tools and footwear, glass, soil, and traces in connection with traffic accidents, to electrical devices, explosive devices, traces in connection with fires, the examination of traces from the hands of a shooter, and determining firing distance. The section also carries out ballistic testing of bulletproof protection material and products and testing of firearms and ammunition.


When it began operations, its tasks were to perform similar examinations and also to carry out comparisons of plant and animal traces, the identification of footprints, and examinations of paints and varnishes, human excrement and teeth; furthermore, it investigated counterfeit currency, seals, stamps and artworks. Today, some of these tasks are assigned to other sections (the examination of paints and varnishes is carried out by the Chemical Examination Section, the examination of human excrement and teeth by the Biological Examination Section, the examination of counterfeit currency and stamps by the Document Examination Section). Interestingly, textile fibre examinations were in the domain of the Biological Examination Section (after its creation), but are, today, again performed by the Physical Examination Section.


Physical Examination Section carries out the following examinations:

  • Examinations of textile fibres and textiles with stereomicroscopy to search for and identify fibre suitable for further examination; comparison microscopy with regular and polarised light to establish the morphological likeness of fibres; ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry to establish the likeness of colours in fibres; infrared spectrophotometry to establish the chemical composition of fibres; the examination and determination of mechanical, thermal and chemical damage to textiles.
  • Examinations of the morphological characteristics of hair and body hair to facilitate identification of the origin of the hair based on a comparison of morphological characteristics (with body hair this is only possible with pubic hair), the identification of cosmetic hair treatments (bleaching, dyeing, etc.), the identification of hair and body hair damage (mechanical, thermal, chemical) and their growth cycle stages (anagen, catagen, telogen).
  • Examinations of footwear trace evidence for the purpose of establishing that the collected trace corresponds with the footwear in question.


  • A comparison of markings left by weapons on bullets and casings to identify the concrete weapon used at the scene (a firing test is required for comparison); determining the weapon type when bullet casings and/or bullets are available, but not the weapon itself; determining whether the weapon is in perfect working condition and the danger it poses in case of modification.


  • Examinations of broken-off locks, either to link them to a specific tool or to link criminal offences; identifying traces of specialist tools used on locks; investigations of slip marks, impressions and cut marks to establish whether there are any traces of confiscated tools at the scene; a comparison of broken-off or cut-off parts to establish whether the parts were a part of a whole before being broken/cut off.
  • Establishing the cause of fires or explosions regarding which identifying the point of origin of a fire/explosion is the priority, followed by the analysis of evidence found at the scene and establishing the cause of the incident; investigations of electrical installations and devices and car lamps.


  • Identifying tyre or rim damage (whether it was caused before the accident or was a consequence of the accident), the examination of electric filaments (whether the filament was on during the accident), examinations of glass and soil.
  • Traces from a shooter's hands are also examined, while inorganic elements are analysed with a scanning electron microscope (SEM-EDX); analysis of silver from traps for burglars is performed by atomic absorption
  • Examinations of surveillance tapes, video documentation, 3D scanning and filming by drone
  • Determining the firing distance based on the morphological characteristics of gunshot wounds and chemical tests
  • The Section also carries out ballistic testing of bullet-proof protection materials. The list of examinations can be found in Appendix.