Comparision of the value of several analytical techniques for the discrimination of different papers

Williamson, Claire (2007) Comparision of the value of several analytical techniques for the discrimination of different papers. Masters thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The ability to discriminate between sheets of paper and to determine the origin of pieces of paper can provide important scientific evidence, especially in cases involving document fraud. Many physical and analytical techniques have been used to analyse paper including XRF, XRD, SEM, Raman spectioscopy, TLC and OCMS. This study utilises established
analytical techniques but also new techniques for the study of paper. Chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques have been utilised to attempt to discriminate between twenty-five sheets of office paper and nine batches of paper obtained from Dutch distributors.
Eleven analytical and three physical techniques were used to analyse the elemental composition, crystallinity, presence of optical brighteners and fillers, isotope ratios, Raman scattering, weight, thickness and fluorescence of the paper samples.
Where possible statistical analyses were carried out of the results. This included principle component analysis.
Some discrimination was achieved using some of the techniques. TLC, XRF and IItMS provided good discrimination of the samples. HPLC, Pyrolysis-GCMS, and Raman spectroscopy were not as successful.
There is no single technique that is able to discriminate between all of the samples. However, a combination of techniques can be used to fully discriminate the paper samples.
This study has combined a number of analytical techniques used to analyse paper in order to achieve discrimination of the samples. From the results obtained it is possible to make recommendations for a standard document examination protocol that can be used to analyse future paper samples.

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