Analytical Chemistry

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


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.

Version notes

Version V2: Addition of co-author (Meg Willans), revisions to title and text, addition of new data. Combined manuscript and ESI into single file.


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Supplementary material

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IDCards ATR GraphicalAbstract