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Ballpoint Pen Inks: The Quantitative Analysis of Ink Solvents on Paper by Solid-Phase Microextraction

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ABSTRACT:

We wish to describe further developments to a method previously reported on the detection of 2-phenoxyethanol in ink. The solid-phase microextraction (SPME) sampling technique, together with gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), has been used to quantify solvents in writing ink. In conventional approaches, the analysis of ink on documents requires some degree of destructive sampling. The methods commonly used remove ink samples from paper using a scalpel or a paper punch. To avoid document destruction, a sampling cell was constructed that allows solvents to be adsorbed directly onto the SPME fiber from the headspace above the document surface. Analytes (ink volatiles) are then desorbed from the SPME fiber on a gas chromatograph equipped with a mass selective detector (GC-MSD). With this method, it was possible to detect the presence of ink solvents on documents for a period lasting up to c. 2 years.
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Keywords: GC-MS; SPME; ballpoint inks; forensic science; gas chromatography; mass spectrometry; questioned documents; solid-phase microextraction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory and Scientific Services Directorate, Canada Borders Services Agency, 79 Bentley Avenue, Ottawa, ON, Canada K2E 6T7. 2: Chief Forensic Sciences Division, Laboratory and Scientific Services Directorate, Canada Borders Services Agency, 79 Bentley Avenue, Ottawa, ON, Canada K2E 6T7.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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