Atomic force microscopic investigation of commercial pressure sensitive adhesives for forensic analysis
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Pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA), such as those used in packaging and adhesive tapes, are very often encountered in forensic investigations. In criminal activities, packaging tapes may be used for sealing packets containing drugs, explosive devices, or questioned documents, while adhesive and electrical tapes are used occasionally in kidnapping cases. In this work, the potential of using atomic force microscopy (AFM) in both imaging and force mapping (FM) modes to derive additional analytical information from PSAs is demonstrated. AFM has been used to illustrate differences in the ultrastructural and nanomechanical properties of three visually distinguishable commercial PSAs to first test the feasibility of using this technique. Subsequently, AFM was used to detect nanoscopic differences between three visually indistinguishable PSAs.