Ink and Paper Analysis / Trace Evidence / Questioned Document Examination

Ink and Paper Analysis / Trace Evidence / Questioned Document Examination

Based on these results, a general procedure for assessing the age of ballpoint pen inks on paper was developed. There’s more to a piece of paper than meets the eye – learn more here and paper analysis determining find it. This specialized investigative process extracts historical and forensic evidence from documents, photographs, art prints, books, and other paper-based objects. These tools are used, how or in combination, to characterize the properties of paper in a analysis of ways. For example, a qualitative analysis shows what materials are in the paper, fiber, ink; quantitative analysis measures how much. Chemical analysis evaluates paper and pH; physical analysis measures gloss, strength, color.

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No there is an expiry date of every ball point pen. The inks inside the basically get little dry. · But you can use it with some trick. Ink inside the refill never get.

Ink analysis may be an important part of the investigation of questioned documents , including forged checks, wills, or altered records. Although all blue or black inks may look the same, there can be some important differences in their chemical composition. These can be revealed by laboratory analysis and the results can help assess whether there have been any additions or alterations to a document.

Analysis of documents under a microscope can be informative as a first step. The investigator may be able to see slight changes in ink color, not visible to the naked eye, that could be indicative of alterations, or there may be suggestions of obliteration and overwriting. The ink itself may be analyzed by non-destructive or destructive testing, depending on whether a sample needs to be taken from the document, a process that would alter it.

It is preferable to try the non-destructive approach first, so that the document is left intact. The main method of non-destructive ink analysis is micro-spectrophotometry. This involves scanning the ink with ultraviolet or infrared light to record its spectrum, that is, the wavelengths of light it absorbs. Some inks fluoresce, or emit light, on exposure to ultraviolet, while others disappear.

Each ink should give a distinct pattern or spectrum on exposure to ultraviolet or visible light. Put simply, this is a way of discovering the true “color” of the ink. The spectrum of the ink on the document can therefore be compared with the spectra of standard inks. Other non-destructive or minimally destructive methods, such as Raman spectroscopy , can be used to supplement micro-spectrophotometry.

Dating of ballpoint pen ink.

Yes, with certain limitations. We can determine the first date of commercial availability of the ink used to prepare any handwritten or handprinted material. The type of ink does not preclude this examination. If the initial date of commercial availability is more recent than the supposed date of the examined writing, then the document is not what it purports. We cannot, however, through this technique, determine the specific or even approximate date of preparation.

Inks having the same physical characteristics (e.g. colour and pen type) and examinations involving chemical ink identification or ink dating.

But this technique is also able to overcome other stumbling blocks relating to the amount of ink deposited when writing and the type of paper used, as these variables hamper the dating of a document by means of traditional methods. What is more, the new technique reduces the number of punctures needed to analyse the writing on a document to just one. Determining the age of a document to find out whether it is authentic is a task influenced by the type of paper on which it has been written, the pressure of the stroke -the amount of ink deposited when the writing was done- or even the technique used.

Until now, document dating methods have been able to indicate whether the writing was relatively new less than 90 days or older over two years , yet this chronological accuracy is insufficient in certain cases, above all in judicial ones. Each document was produced at different moments using a different ink stroke pressure, factors that may alter the results and lead to dating errors. During the natural ageing process of each sample, which had a known age, the research team analysed the evolution in the various volatile components.

When analysing the kinetics involved in its disappearance, the research group established a pattern that links the state of the ink with the time that has elapsed. After observing this natural evolution and once the base guideline had been established, the next challenge to be overcome was to check the viability of the method using spontaneously written documents whose exact age was known, such as diaries, laboratory logs and judicial evidence from judicial processes that had been closed.

So the team used the same procedure as that used to analyse the samples produced for the research. And Datink also passed the test. In other words, when applying this analysis procedure, the team can indicate whether the document was written 1, days previously just over four years with a margin of days either way.

Until now, the passing of time was detected only in a very general way, in other words, it was possible to determine whether the document was young whether it was less than 90 days old or old more than 2 years. So Datink has overcome some of the drawbacks graphology examination comes up against when ascertaining the age of a document by means of other methods.


Questioned material may consist of identification cards, contracts, wills, titles and deeds, seals, stamps, bank checks, handwritten correspondence, machine-generated documents such as those from photocopiers, fax machines, and printers , currency and electronic documents. In some circumstances, graffiti and digital signatures may be examined; however, the client should be aware that the examination of these types of evidence can be problematic.

Even documents that were shredded or burned may prove useful if reconstructed. In digital documents, evidence could even be culled from the metadata of electronic signature files, providing information such as who the author is and when the document was written. When conducting examinations, forensic document examiners must have known specimens to which they compare the material in question.

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Cases involving alterations, erasures, obliterations, decipherment or cases involving the authentication of documents may require ink examinations. Skip to main content. Technical Information Sheets Documents Ink Examination Information — PDF, 29 kb Introduction Cases involving alterations, erasures, obliterations, decipherment or cases involving the authentication of documents may require ink examinations.

Note: The Documents Unit at the Centre of Forensic Sciences is not equipped to perform examinations involving chemical ink identification or ink dating. The non-destructive tests employed cannot be used to conclude the date of an inked entry. Typically, a thick high viscosity ink with an oil, glycol or rubber base. Luminescence or Fluorescence Light of a particular wavelength is absorbed and light of a different usually higher wavelength is emitted which makes the ink appear to glow.

Infrared IR Radiant energy having wavelengths longer than the wavelengths of visible light, usually from about to nm. Typically, a thin, low viscosity ink with a water or solvent base. Ultraviolet UV Radiant energy having wavelengths shorter than the wavelengths of visible light, usually from about 10 to nm. This system displays variations in the infrared absorption and fluorescence of dyes and pigments and allows for the examination of a document throughout the visible, ultraviolet and infrared regions of the spectrum.

Technical information sheets. Additional Resources.

Forensic Document Examination

Someone trying to sell a baseball allegedly signed by Babe Ruth in the early s, or pass off documents as older than they really are, is up against a serious foe: The United States Secret Service. You might know that the Secret Service is on guard against counterfeit currency. You might not know, however, that it also keeps a one-of-a-kind International Ink Library with more than 11, specific writing ink fingerprints on hand.

Students gain experience in the forensic ink age of. Oct 9, forensic ink examination of black ballpoint pen inks. Dc young fly roast session at the ink analysis.

There are typically two different forensic methods for ink dating. With this method the forensic analysis determines the components in the ink, compares them against a library of standards and then allows an opinion regarding the first date that particular ink was manufactured commercially available. The dynamic approach is very useful in determining if a pen ink was placed on a document on its purported date, i. There are only a handful of forensic scientists capable of performing these tests and laboratories equipped with the proper tools.

The proposed tests are minimally invasive, the latter two involving the placement of pinhole perforations in the text, paper and signatures on the Original Document. The pinholes themselves are not typically easily visible unless the document is held up to light, and the testing has no negative effect on handwriting analysis. All of the proposed testing follows Court approved testing methods, e. Under appropriate circumstances, the Court may order destructive testing of all or some portion of the physical item in question.

Douglas E. Barnhart, Inc. Inks appearing on questioned documents may be examined for the purpose of comparing with other inks on the same document, with ink on other documents or even with ink in seized pens. Sequence of entry can sometimes be determined. Questions regarding manufacturer, pen, pen type, ink age, backdating, fraud and forgery can often be answered by Larry Stewart, Global Forensic Services, LLC. Non-destructive techniques used in the analysis of inks involve microscopic examinations and the use of various wavelengths of radiation e.

Ink Dating

Oct 9, designers, and forensic and. Oct 9, identifying ‘ink tags’ to indicate. Indirect dating may provide additional molecular information. Crawford in forensic handwriting, gongora, ink from. Ink aging an ink being examined was developed in.

There are two main approaches for the dating of ballpoint pen inks: the static method, which is based on the characterization and identification.

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