DOI: 10.3390/app13169300 ISSN:

Alleviating Luminescence and Quenching toward Discrimination of Ballpoint Pen Inks Using Spectroscopy and Chromatography Techniques

Ahmed A. Gawad, Tarek M. Salama, Islam Ibrahim, Mohamed Meshref, Gehad G. Mohamed, Abdallah F. Zedan
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • General Engineering
  • Instrumentation
  • General Materials Science

The phenomenon of luminescence and quenching is widely applied in the forensic examination of various ink materials. Here, we introduce a hybrid spectroscopic and chromatography approach to gain insights into the underlying cause of infrared luminescence (IRL) in blue ballpoint (BP) pen inks. A total of thirty BP pen ink samples from the Egyptian market were employed in this study. Insights into the origin of luminescence and quenching in the studied samples were gained based on video spectral comparator (VSC), thin layer chromatography (TLC), ultraviolet–visible (UV–Vis) spectrophotometry, and photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy. Results showed that some of the studied inks possessed IRL due to the presence of crystal violet and some other triaryl methane dyes. Nevertheless, some ink samples did not possess IRL, despite the presence of the dyes responsible for IRL in their matrix. Interestingly, the inclusion of phthalocyanine dye in those non-luminescent ink matrices resulted in luminescence quenching, mainly due to the overlap between the absorption of phthalocyanine dye and the luminescence of the triarylmethane dyes. The IRL behavior of the ink sample under the first illumination wave band (400–485 nm) exerted control over the IRL activity across subsequent illumination wavebands, and the most effective differentiation was achieved by utilizing the first and second preset filters in VSC. The results revealed the luminescent components present in studied inks and unraveled their distinct luminescence behavior present within the ink matrix. The combination of optical spectroscopy and chromatography techniques could provide a distinctive tool to reveal the luminescence and quenching behaviors of ink dyes for the successful forensic discrimination of several BP writing pens.

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