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Analysis of Writing Inks on Paper Using Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry
Forensic Science International
  • Roger W. Jones, Iowa State University
  • John Frederick McClelland, Iowa State University
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Ink analysis is central to questioned document examination. We applied direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART MS) to ballpoint, gel, and fluid writing ink analysis. DART MS acquires the mass spectrum of an ink while it is still on a document without altering the appearance of the document. Spectra were acquired from ink on a variety of papers, and the spectrum of the blank paper could be subtracted out to produce a cleanly isolated ink spectrum in most cases. Only certain heavy or heavily processed papers interfered. The time since an ink is written on paper has a large effect on its spectrum. DART spectra change radically during the first few months after an ink is written as the more volatile components evaporate, but the spectra stabilize after that. A library-search study involving 166 well-aged inks assessed the ability to identify inks from their DART spectra. The aggregate success rate was 92%.

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Forensic Science International. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Forensic Science International 231 (2013): 73, doi:10.1016/j.forsciint.2013.04.016.

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Roger W. Jones and John F. McClelland
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Citation Information
Roger W. Jones and John Frederick McClelland. "Analysis of Writing Inks on Paper Using Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry" Forensic Science International Vol. 231 Iss. 1-3 (2013) p. 73 - 81
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