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X‐ray Powder Diffraction for Characterization of Raw Materials in Banknotes

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We report about the X‐ray powder diffraction characterization of crystalline materials used to produce genuine and counterfeit banknotes, performed with a single‐crystal diffractometer that permits fast and nondestructive measurements in different 0.5‐mm sized areas; 20‐euro denomination genuine banknotes were analyzed, and results were compared with counterfeit banknotes. The analysis shows that the papers used to print real banknotes are composed, as expected, of cotton‐based cellulose and titanium dioxide as crystalline additive, but different polymorphs of TiO2 for different emission countries are evidenced. The counterfeit banknotes are composed of cellulose based on wood pulp; moreover, an unexpected significant quantity of TiO2 was found to be mixed with calcite, indicating that the paper employed by forgers is not simply a common low‐cost type. The crystalline index and intensity ratios between the peaks attributable to cellulose and fillers can provide additional information to trace back paper suppliers for forensic purposes.
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Keywords: X‐ray powder diffraction; banknotes characterization; crystallinity index; forensic science; nondestructive analysis; paper characterization; semicrystalline materials

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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