Investigating diversity in polymer-based identity cards using ATR-FTIR spectroscopy and chemometrics

24 August 2020, Version 2
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Polymer identity cards are a key target for counterfeit production, posing significant economic and security threats. Examination of suspect identity cards is largely based on visual features, but could potentially exploit diversity in the card composition. This preliminary study investigated the chemical diversity amongst Western Australian driver’s licences using attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy with chemometrics. Differences were observed between three series of issue, potentially due to variations in the adhesive or printing materials. Analysis of three licences issued outside of Western Australia also highlighted variations between jurisdictions. This warrants further investigation into the chemical composition of identity cards as a possible tool to assist expert examination.


Infrared spectroscopy
Questioned Document Examination
Forensic Sciences

Supplementary materials

IDCards ATR GraphicalAbstract


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