(Received 24 August 1990; accepted 30 October 1990)
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Infrared (IR) microscopic analysis was performed in tandem with traditional techniques of fiber analysis in case studies in order to determine the feasibility of IR microscopy as a routine technique for fiber analysis. All fibers which were comparable by visual, optical microscopy were also found to be comparable by IR microscopy. Several minor spectral differences between comparable fibers were encountered. The sources of these spectral differences fell into three major categories: (1) interference fringes, (2) contaminants, and (3) pressure effects due to sample preparation. The utility of a computerized spectral library of fibers for the identification of generic class and subclass was evaluated. Sheath and core bicomponent fibers were also examined along with a new type of poly(benzimidazole) (PBI), a high-performance fiber.
Research chemist, Forensic Science Research Unit, FBI Laboratory, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA
Graduate student and professor, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
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