It was also observed that the dyes from the ink strokes did not show significant degradation after one year of storage in the dark.
In conclusion, the storage conditions of a questioned document and the initial composition of the dyes in the ink have to be known for correct interpretation of the age of an ink entry.
Humidity also increases degradation, which can be explained by the basicity of the paper.
The influence of heat on the degradation process was found to be rather weak.
The aim of this work is to characterize the degradation processes of methyl violet and ethyl violet, two typical ballpoint dyes by using laser desorption/ionization (LDI) and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry (MS), and to evaluate the possible application of the method to forensic examination of documents.
The mass spectrometric methods were first tested and were found to be adequate for the purpose of this work.
The determination of the age of an ink entry from a questioned document is often a major problem and a controversial issue in forensic sciences.
Therefore, it is important to understand the aging process of the different components found in ink.
Then, strokes from the same ballpoint were aged naturally in the dark or under the influence of light over one year and then analyzed.
The results show that the degradation of these dyes strongly depends on light fluence.
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