Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 12, 2004
Previous Article Next Article

Forensic isotope ratio mass spectrometry of packaging tapes

Author affiliations


Pressure sensitive adhesive tape (brown parcel tape) is employed in a great many criminal activities such as the restraint of individuals during robbery and offences against the person, the enclosure of explosive devices and the packaging and concealment of controlled drugs. Packaging materials are ubiquitous in modern society and are produced in such vast quantities that it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between different products or to link materials to a common source. This study demonstrates the potential of stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry to characterise parcel tapes based on a number of properties. The carbon isotopic signature, derived from the substrate polymer, associated additives and adhesive is highly characteristic of a particular tape and allows samples from different sources to be readily distinguished. Further discrimination may be achieved by the incorporation of deuterium and oxygen isotopic data and by analysis of the isolated backing polymer. Recovery of intact tape from simulated forensic samples proved straightforward and the isotopic signature of the tape did not appear to be affected by adverse storage conditions.

Back to tab navigation

Publication details

The article was received on 21 Jun 2004, accepted on 06 Sep 2004 and first published on 11 Oct 2004

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/B409341K
Citation: Analyst, 2004,129, 1206-1210
  •   Request permissions

    Forensic isotope ratio mass spectrometry of packaging tapes

    J. F. Carter, P. L. Grundy, J. C. Hill, N. C. Ronan, E. L. Titterton and R. Sleeman, Analyst, 2004, 129, 1206
    DOI: 10.1039/B409341K

Search articles by author