Non-destructive method aids fake document detection

Old document and quillResearchers at the University of North Texas have developed a method for detecting fraudulent documents via the analysis of ink and paper samples.

The technique - which couples a novel way to extract ink from documents and other items with analysis using nanospray ionization mass spectrometry - was developed with the support of the US Department of Justice and will be used by its agents.

The direct analyte probe nanoextraction (DAPNe) technique requires only a tiny sample volume, has no need for sample preparation and does not leave any visible, destructive footprints on the surface of the document, write the scientists in the journal Forensic Science International.

"This is advantageous for the analysis of historical, governmental, and/or other documents where maintaining the integrity is crucial," according to the team, which is headed by UNT researcher Guido Verbeck, the director of the UNT Laboratory of Imaging Mass Spectrometry.

Verbeck has created a device to apply the DAPNe-NSI-MS technology in a simple fashion, allowing DoJ investigators to simply place documents underneath an extractor to analyse the chemical signature of the materials the criminals used, according to BioNews Texas.

"Having a breakdown of chemical residues and document materials will provide invaluable information to authorities for investigations," he told the publication.

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) granted $380,000 to Verbeck’s research team for the development of the device.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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