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Raman Spectroscopy to Enhance Investigative Lead Information in Automotive Clearcoats

NCJ Number
Applied Spectroscopy Volume: 77 Issue: 9 Dated: 2023 Pages: 1064–1072
Date Published
9 pages

This paper discusses the use of Raman spectroscopy to identify and discriminate among automotive clearcoats.


The results of this study indicate that Raman spectroscopy in combination with pattern recognition methods offers distinct advantages over FT-IR for the identification and discrimination of automotive clearcoats. A new method to determine the make and model of a vehicle from an automotive paint sample recovered at the crime scene of a vehicle-related fatality such as a hit-and-run using Raman microscopy has been developed. Raman spectra were collected from 118 automotive paint samples from six General Motors (GM) vehicle assembly plants to investigate the discrimination power of Raman spectroscopy for automotive clearcoats using a genetic algorithm for pattern recognition that incorporates model inference and sample error in the variable selection process. Each vehicle assembly plant pertained to a specific vehicle model. The spectral region between 1802 and 697 cm–1 was found to be supportive of the discrimination of these six GM assembly plants. By comparison, only one of the six automotive assembly plants could be differentiated from the other five assembly plants using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), which is the most widely used analytical method for the examination of automotive paint) and the genetic algorithm for pattern recognition. (Published Abstract Provided)

Date Published: January 1, 2023