Yellow toner links counterfeit banknotes

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  • Published: Nov 9, 2012
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: Chemometrics & Informatics / Atomic / Raman / X-ray Spectrometry / Proteomics / Base Peak / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Infrared Spectroscopy / MRI Spectroscopy / NMR Knowledge Base

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Croation scientists have shown that counterfeit banknotes can be linked by the Raman spectra of the yellow toner in the printing inks. They analysed 44 commercial cyan, magenta and yellow toners that were printed using 36 printers from 10 manufacturers, using micro-Raman spectroscopy with an excitation wavelength of 514.5 nm, as reported in Forensic Science International.

When the spectrum of the paper was subtracted from the spectra of the printed toners, the researchers found that the spectra of the cyan toners were all identical while those of the magenta toners showed some differences. However, the Raman spectra of yellow toners from different manufacturers displayed significant differences. In some cases, even the spectra of yellow toners from the same manufacturer, either from different cartridges or intended for different printer models, showed notable differences.

In order to test whether the colour test would work on paper currency, two counterfeit Croation kuna banknotes that were suspected to originate from the same source were tested. The Raman spectra of the magenta and yellow colours were identical, pointing to a common origin and this was confirmed from conventional counterfeit protection system code patterns.

In practice, the researchers claimed that only the yellow toners need to be examined in counterfeit tests, although the study needs to be validated by testing a wider selection of toners from different manufacturers and printer models. This could lead to the formation of a forensic spectral library of yellow toners.

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