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Keywords:

  • forensic;
  • white paint;
  • lateral scanning;
  • cross-section

Abstract

Multilayer samples of white architectural paint potentially have very high evidential value in forensic casework, because the probability that two unrelated samples will have the same sequence of layers is extremely low. However, discrimination between the different layers using optical microscopy is often difficult or impossible. Here, lateral scanning Raman spectroscopy has been used to chemically map the cross-sections of multilayer white paint chips. It was found that the spectra did allow the different layers to be delineated on the basis of their spectral features. The boundaries between different layers were not as sharp as expected, with transitions occurring over length scales of > 20 µm, even with laser spot diameters < 4 µm. However, the blurring of the boundaries was not so large as to prevent recording and identification of spectra from each of the layers in the samples. This method clearly provides excellent discrimination between different multilayer white paint samples and can readily be incorporated into existing procedures for examination of paint transfer evidence. © 2011 Crown copyright.