Attenuated total reflection (ATR), also known as internal reflection spectroscopy (IRS), is a forensically accepted method for infrared (IR) analysis of pressure sensitive adhesive tapes. Advancements of ATR accessories in the last decade have provided the forensic examiner several ATR methods to choose from. These accessories offer a variety of ATR crystal choices with a variety of prices and capabilities. Four different types of pressure sensitive adhesive tapes including duct tape, electrical tape, packaging tape and office tape have been used to compare six different ATR methods. Each of the methods tested offers both benefits and limitations which must be considered for the type of sample to be analyzed. The intent of this paper is to assist the reader in better understanding ATR techniques, the many differences among currently available ATR accessories and how the method is applied to the analysis of pressure sensitive adhesive tape.
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