(Received 17 August 2002; accepted 3 November 2002)
Published Online: 2003
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The aim of this project was to investigate the evidential value of blue gel pen inks in Europe. For this purpose, 33 blue gel pen inks, of different brands and models, representative of those available on the European market at the time of the study, were analyzed using three techniques: filtered light examination (FLE), Raman Spectroscopy (RS), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). First, after visual examination (naked eye and stereo microscope), it was possible to classify the 33 inks into three groups described as: milky, metallic, and normal. This paper describes in detail the results obtained for the normal gel pen group. The ability of the techniques to discriminate gel inks between and within brands varied. The results indicated that RS and SEM were more discriminating than FLE. The greatest degree of differentiation was achieved when using a combination of RS and SEM techniques (discriminating power = 0.91). This study also highlights some problems concerning the identification of the brand of a gel pen from a written text.
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