Questioned Document Examination (QDE) is considered to be the oldest of the forensic sciences pre-dating the use of fingerprints as means of identification by over 50 years. The primary purpose of questioned/forensic document examination is to answer questions about a disputed document using a variety of scientific processes and methods.
Questioned document examination systems are most commonly used by police forces, customs and excise, border patrol, and immigration as well as in banks, casinos, and specific fraud detection departments of insurance and benefits offices.
Some of the most commonly examined documents include:
Passports, visas, financial / fiduciary documents, driving licenses and other vehicle documents, identity cards, insurance documents, terror threats, and almost any other document that can be counterfeited or fraudulently modified.
Foster + Freeman’s document examination products can be divided into three main categories, multi-spectral comparison (the VSC range), Raman spectroscopy (Foram), and electrostatic detection (ESDA2 and lite).
About Multi-spectral comparison
Foster + Freeman’s flagship range of instruments are capable of viewing and recording the response of documents/inks when exposed to light of varying wavelengths including: - Visible, infrared (lighting and luminescence), ultraviolet, transmitted, coaxial, and oblique lighting.
This allows for the detailed examination and comparison of inks, security features (such as holograms and OVD’s), altered or obliterated information, and invisible personal information (IPI).
View products: VSC6000 - VSC400 - VSC40
About Raman spectroscopy
As different inks give different Raman spectra this means that they can be differentiated or matched using a Raman spectrometer such as the Foram. This method of examination is both cost effective and quick to perform.
View products: Foram
About Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA)
Originally created by Foster + Freeman in the early 1970s the ESDA device is commonly used by questioned document examiners to reveal indented impressions on paper which may not be visible to the naked eye. The ESDA process is non-destructive meaning that further investigation of a document is possible.
View products: ESDA 2 - ESDA-lite
*In addition to the above document examination techniques, elemental analysis of pigments is also possible using the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) capabilities of the Foster + Freeman Ecco (see trace evidence examination).
This technique utilizes a very high energy pulse laser to ablate a microscopic amount of material and raise its temperature by tens of thousands of degrees. As the various elements return to their ground states the excited matter emits a characteristic emission spectrum that can be measured and compared.
View Products: ECCO