UNT forensic chemist creates analysis device for U.S. Department of Justice to detect fraudulent documents

Guido Verbec
Guido Verbeck with the full-scale nanomanipulator, a device that detects and analyzes chemicals on the nanoscale.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 15:08
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DENTON (UNT), Texas -- University of North Texas Associate Professor of Chemistry Guido Verbeck has created a device for the U.S. Department of Justice that will allow investigators to analyze inks, paints, papers and other materials criminals use to create counterfeit documents.

The device is a re-creation of the original nanomanipulator Verbeck invented in 2006, which allows users to extract and analyze chemicals at the nanoscale, even within the ridges of a fingerprint.

"This new device is set up so investigators can place documents underneath an extractor and analyze the chemical signature of the materials the criminals used," Verbeck said. "Having a breakdown of chemical residues and document materials will provide invaluable information to authorities for investigations."

Verbeck's nanomanipulator technology gives investigators access to chemicals and trace residues that otherwise would go unseen or would be too difficult to detect using other tools or methods.

In 2012, Verbeck developed a smaller, portable nanomanipulator for the U.S. military to use in investigations of explosives.

The National Institute of Justice awarded Verbeck and his team with more than $380,000 to develop the device as part of NIJ project award number 2013-R2-CX-K007, and a paper on the device's technology will appear in the September issue of Forensic Science International.

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