Category Archives: CSI

Homeland Security, Forensics, Ink, and Thin Layer Chromatography

NewsWise has an interesting article about the U.S. Secret Service using Thin Layer Chromatography to analyze inks – here’s someInkLibrary2 resized 600 excerpts:

Inks in one form or another have been around for at least 5,000 years. Scientists can analyze an ink’s components and determine when it was first manufactured, its brand, its composition, and other information by comparing the analysis results to the more than 10,000 inks and matching analyses stored in the International Ink Library managed by the U.S. Secret Service.

To analyze an ink sample, forensic scientists separate its components using planar thin layer chromatography. This process uses solvents to separate the ink into bands of color on a page. Each ink creates its own color bands, thus forming a “fingerprint.” Scientists compare the unknown sample’s bands to known samples to find a match.

You can read the complete article by clicking here.

And here’s that great clip from CSI showing ink analysis with Thin Layer Chromatography:

Chromatography featured on Forensics Blog

We just discovered a great new blog dedicated specifically to Forensics.

A recent post caught our eye:

Chromatography – A Powerful Tool For Forensics

Here’s some excerpts:

What this process allows, among various other benefits, is the precise separation of complex chemical mixtures using a color-coded matrix. The identification of chemicals by means of a color code has made chromatography very popular, especially at potentially messy forensic crime scenes.
Usually, the application of chromatography in a laboratory setting involves passing a mixture through a series of phases. The mixture passes from a mobile phase, through a stationary phase, and results in the isolation of the desired molecule or compound.

The uses of chromatography are varied and accurate, making it a perfect match for law enforcement. As the forensic specialists forge forward with their investigations, stay tuned to your favorite crime show. You may hear them mention, as the dramatic music crescendos and your favorite stars pretend to be concerned, a chromatographical process.

Click Here to read the full post

Of course we can’t let this opportunity go without another look at Thin Layer Chromatography being used in the popular television show “CSI”