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Identification of forged Bank of England £20 banknotes using IR spectroscopy

Sonnex, E., Almond, M. J., Baum, J. V. and Bond, J.W. (2014) Identification of forged Bank of England £20 banknotes using IR spectroscopy. Spectrochimica Acta Part a-Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy, 118. pp. 158-163. ISSN 1386-1425

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.saa.2013.09.115


Bank of England notes of £20 denomination have been studied using infrared spectroscopy in order to generate a method to identify forged notes. An aim of this work was to develop a non-destructive method so that a small, compact Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FT-IR) instrument could be used by bank workers, police departments or others such as shop assistants to identify forged notes in a non-lab setting. The ease of use of the instrument is the key to this method, as well as the relatively low cost. The presence of a peak at 1400 cm−1 arising from νasym () from the blank paper section of a forged note proved to be a successful indicator of the note’s illegality for the notes that we studied. Moreover, differences between the spectra of forged and genuine £20 notes were observed in the ν(OH) (ca. 3500 cm−1), ν(CH) (ca. 2900 cm−1) and ν(CO) (ca. 1750 cm−1) regions of the IR spectrum recorded for the polymer film covering the holographic strip. In cases where these simple tests fail, we have shown how an infrared microscope can be used to further differentiate genuine and forged banknotes by producing infrared maps of selected areas of the note contrasting inks with background paper.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:35326

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