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Revealing fake money
Highlights in Chemical Science ^ | 02 July 2010 | Rebecca Brodie

Posted on 07/02/2010 10:00:04 PM PDT by neverdem

A simple and fast technique to examine the surface of banknotes and identify counterfeits has been developed by scientists in Brazil and the US.

The counterfeiting of banknotes is a global problem that is increasing in scale and sophistication. Counterfeiters now use computerised reproduction methods like scanners and laser printers to copy real notes, and gone are the days when a fake could be spotted by simply testing the look and feel of the paper.

The new technologies used by counterfeiters have thrown out a challenge to law enforcement. 'Forensic laboratories are therefore confronted with an increasing demand to analyse larger numbers of samples with faster responses and reliable verdicts for samples fabricated with greater sophistication than ever,' says Marcos Eberlin, one of the researchers at the University of Campinas, Brazil.

With Graham Cooks at Purdue University in West Lafayette, US, Eberlin and colleagues have devised a mass spectrometric technique that can give a chemical profile of banknotes in seconds. There is almost no sample preparation required, it is non-destructive, and the test can also reveal which counterfeit method was used to create the 'funny money'.

Mass spec and money

Mass spectrometry detects fake notes

This new technique relies on using desorption ionisation mass spectrometry to test different spots on the banknote. The real banknotes show similar data (m/z ions), distributed evenly over the entire surface, despite age, denomination and colour pattern. This provides a fingerprint for the real banknotes. When the laserjet and inkjet notes are tested, a distinct set of ion markers can be seen and their fingerprint is quite different from the real money.

'The work convincingly demonstrates a relevant application of these techniques in combating currency forgery,' comments Niamh Nic Daeid, a forensic chemist at the University of Strathclyde in the UK. 'The next challenge will be to make this technology widely available to the forensic community as a robust and affordable technique.'

As well as discovering fake money, Eberlin can see this method being used in a preventative way. 'We are already working together with the Brazilian Federal Police and the manufactures in Brazil to find the most effective way to add these chemical signatures, either in ink formulations or as invisible stamps or bar codes, as a new and hard to imitate security measure for Brazilian banknotes,' he says.

 

Link to journal article

Instantaneous chemical profiles of banknotes by ambient mass spectrometry
Livia S. Eberlin, Renato Haddad, Ramon C. Sarabia Neto, Ricardo G. Cosso, Denison R. J. Maia, Adriano O. Maldaner, Jorge Jardim Zacca, Gustavo B. Sanvido, Wanderson Romão, Boniek G. Vaz, Demian R. Ifa, Allison Dill, R. Graham Cooks and Marcos N. Eberlin, Analyst, 2010
DOI: 10.1039/c0an00243g

Also of interest

Fighting forgery from inside

A reaction between two sheets of chemically treated paper creates patterns that could deter counterfeiters

Interview: Analyse this

Joe Caruso talks to May Copsey about warfare agents, proteomics and why elemental mass spectrometry is not just all about the metal.

Interview: Analytical conversation

Gunda Köllensperger talks about elemental speciation, analytical chemistry and crime fiction


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: analyticalchemistry; chemistry; forensicchemistry; massspectrometry
The abstract links a FReebie.
1 posted on 07/02/2010 10:00:09 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

And the mass spec costs a hundred grand to buy and a thousand a month to run (vacuum pumps, standards, consumables).

This will make money more expensive.


2 posted on 07/02/2010 10:03:59 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: DBrow

>And the mass spec costs a hundred grand to buy and a thousand a month to run (vacuum pumps, standards, consumables).
>
>This will make money more expensive.

Well, there has to be SOMETHING to counter-balance all that money we’re printing...
[/semi-sarc]


3 posted on 07/02/2010 10:10:34 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: DBrow
And the mass spec costs a hundred grand to buy and a thousand a month to run (vacuum pumps, standards, consumables).

This will make money more expensive.

How so? Most decent forensic labs probably have a mass spec already.

4 posted on 07/02/2010 10:29:06 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: DBrow

That’s why you buy the equipment with counterfeit money...


5 posted on 07/02/2010 10:29:11 PM PDT by verum ago (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!)
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To: neverdem

They may have a GC/MS or LC/MS, but to do the money analysis you need a DESI front end. And if you are processing a thousand bill samples, that’s a thousand other samples you can’t run, like meth lab stuff or coke determinations.

Which adds to the backlog, so some bureaucrat buys another MS/DESI unit or two per forensics labs to keep ahead of the backlog, and those millions add up, making “clean” money expensive.

Most FBI labs have considerable backlogs already for fancy analyses.

On TV there are never backlogs, the CSI shows always have a GC/MS or PCR setup just waiting for this week’s samples, and the answers are available after one commercial break.


6 posted on 07/02/2010 10:42:37 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: verum ago

Yeah, I wish I had thought of that!


7 posted on 07/02/2010 10:43:41 PM PDT by DBrow
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To: verum ago

I’m convinced most counterfeit money is printed by countries in conflict. Every country has the engravers, printing presses, etc. that could easily print the money of other countries as well as their own.

Does anyone doubt China is printing U.S. greenbacks this very minute?


8 posted on 07/02/2010 10:44:39 PM PDT by BigBobber
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To: neverdem

I don’t see what difference it makes if I print money in my basement, or Obama prints it at the treasury.


9 posted on 07/02/2010 11:01:23 PM PDT by lawnguy (The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil-Cicero)
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To: DBrow
They may have a GC/MS or LC/MS, but to do the money analysis you need a DESI front end. And if you are processing a thousand bill samples, that’s a thousand other samples you can’t run, like meth lab stuff or coke determinations.

So infrared spectra won't satisfy the standards of forensic chemistry for simple chemical identification?

10 posted on 07/02/2010 11:08:08 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Brazil and the US

Who cares? I'll just go in the ladder business.

11 posted on 07/02/2010 11:09:51 PM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: lawnguy
I don’t see what difference it makes if I print money in my basement, or Obama prints it at the treasury.

Or the North Koeans either, but tell that to the gov't.

12 posted on 07/02/2010 11:10:59 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: neverdem
Good to see a reliable method being arrived at. However 'queer' will still get through until a tool such as this is available in every bank and money exchange world-wide.
Right now, it is not uncommon for a month long wait for US denominations to be 'declared genuine and acceptable' in banks outside the US. Already, certain serial number groups, even on good genuine bills, are deemed non-acceptable due to 'queer' being found with these serial #'s and notification sent out on these number sequences.

You can imagine the frustration this can cause. So, when tools like these are small enough, simple enough and easy-to-use enough that they can be widely made available...then you will see it actually making a dent in fake money transactions.
13 posted on 07/02/2010 11:31:20 PM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus)
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To: Tainan

A better way than trying methods to detect fake dollars is to...
not make paper dollars, euros, etc. in the first place.

Peg the US dollar to gold at, for instance, $2000 per ounce and replace all honest $100 notes with 1/20th ounce Gold coins.


14 posted on 07/03/2010 12:14:40 AM PDT by Aroostook25
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To: Tainan

“You can imagine the frustration this can cause. So, when tools like these are small enough, simple enough and easy-to-use enough that they can be widely made available...then you will see it actually making a dent in fake money transactions. “

The counterfeiters will find a way to adapt to whatever detection methods are implemented. Clearly, the only effetive solution is to eliminate currency altogether and create a global cashless economy. Every person will need a fraud proof identification tag that can be read simply and cheaply at any point of sale terminal. Perhaps a UV readable barcode tattoo on the right hand or forehead...

Such a system will deter a lot of other criminal activity besides counterfeiting. The mark of the beast is necessary and inevitable.


15 posted on 07/03/2010 12:20:05 AM PDT by UnChained ( I am sending you out as sheep among wolves; so be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves)
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To: Aroostook25

“Peg the US dollar to gold at, for instance, $2000 per ounce and replace all honest $100 notes with 1/20th ounce Gold coins.”

That would be an excellent solution but I bet the government will choose instead to eliminate cash


16 posted on 07/03/2010 12:25:36 AM PDT by UnChained ( I am sending you out as sheep among wolves; so be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves)
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To: I see my hands

“Who cares? I’ll just go in the ladder business.”

I really tried, but I can’t figure out what that means, give me another clue.


17 posted on 07/03/2010 12:44:47 AM PDT by UnChained ( I am sending you out as sheep among wolves; so be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves)
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To: verum ago

So, is this going to put the biggest counterfitter, the Federal Reserve, out of business?


18 posted on 07/03/2010 12:54:42 AM PDT by Leisler ("Over time they create a legal system that plunders and a moral code that glorifies it." F. Bastiat)
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To: neverdem

This is another reason why the drive to UEF (Universal Electronic Transfers) will accelerate.

Elimination of all paper currency, only transactions under $100 to be exempt, the advantages (so they will say) will be safety, security and complete accountability.

It will also allow the Fed to cook the electronic books on a scale Ponzi could only fantasize about.


19 posted on 07/03/2010 2:55:03 AM PDT by mkjessup
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To: Aroostook25

Peg the US dollar to gold at, for instance, $2000 per ounce and replace all honest $100 notes with 1/20th ounce Gold coins.


We have a winner!


20 posted on 07/03/2010 7:23:36 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: mkjessup

It’s time once again to trot out my currency and coinage reform proposal.

Given that there has been ample inflation on the order of 10 since the last change, and we have an excessive array of confusing coins and low-value currency, it is time for a practical simplification.

First, denominations need to proceed in a proportional way without large value ratios or crowded ratios. The classic 1-5-10-50-100... progression with ratios of 2.0-5.0 is ideal as a minimum, with denominations of 2, 20, etc. being optional for important valuations.

Second, we want to avoid coins of such low value that they are more trouble than they are worth. Economic waste occurs with the extra time wasted dealing with needlessly small coins. A dime is worth less than a minute of labor at minimum wages, and no currency transaction requires anything smaller than this denomination. The penny and the half-cent served well as the smallest denominations when their values were that of today’s dime. Note that electronic transactions are often conducted in smaller units than our smallest coin, and that cash registers have been “rounding” (without bias up or down) to the nearest small coin for sales tax purposes for generations.

Third, we want to set the coin/currency transition at a practical level that avoids our wallets being overstuffed with small bills, or our pockets with too many coins. Coins should be suitable for purchases like a magazine, a coffee, a lunch, or a brief cab ride.

Fourth, the ratio between the largest and smallest coin should be limited to a practical factor. Consider that the economy functions effectively with coins at 0.05, 0.10, and 0.25, with pennies treated as trash, and larger coins generally not used. That is a factor of 5 between the largest and smallest coin. A factor of 10-50 may be ideal, and a factor of 100 (as in actual current coinage) is excessive.

Fifth, we need bills of adequately high value for large cash purchases (consider the largest Euro note has a value of about 7.5 times that of the largest US note.)

Sixth, coins should be sized approximately proportional to their value for ease of recognition and use.

The proposal:

Coins:
$0.10 (slightly smaller than the current dime)
$0.50 (slightly smaller than the current nickel, larger than the penny)
$1.00 (slightly smaller than the current quarter dollar, larger than the nickel)
$5.00 (slightly smaller than the current half-dollar) Or it could be set at $2 to avoid overlap with a $5 note.

Currency Notes:
$5 (optional)
$10
$20 (optional)
$50
$100
$500

Our current 6 coins are replaced with 4.
Our current 7 notes are replaced with 4-6.

If you want to talk about making coins out of silver or gold, I’m even more enthusiastic:

$1000 gold coin (1 oz)
$500 gold coin (1/2 oz)
$100 gold coin (1/10 oz)
$20 silver coin (1 oz)
$10 silver coin (1/2 oz)
$2 silver coin (1/10 oz)
$1 copper or base metal coin (1/2 oz)
$0.50 copper or base metal coin (1/4 oz)
$0.10 copper or base metal coin (1/10 oz)


21 posted on 07/03/2010 7:30:10 AM PDT by Atlas Sneezed (Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly at first.)
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To: neverdem

Yeah, maybe a Raman setup, like the handheld from Ahura. The article is specific to DESI/MS, though.

It does not matter what analytical modality you use, though- if you add a thousand samples a month to a forensics lab, some person has to do the work, it adds either cost or backlog, your choice.

I think this admin’s approach to counterfeiting is to make the dollar worth a handful of beach pebbles, so no sane criminal would bother.


22 posted on 07/03/2010 8:45:21 AM PDT by DBrow
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To: UnChained
It's a comment regarding imperfect solutions. I'm referencing Pete Stark's recently stated opinion that a 20 foot fence on the border would be defeated by a 21 foot ladder and that he would be glad to sell them.

Here are Stark's belchings.

I admit my post was slightly obtuse, lol.


23 posted on 07/03/2010 2:08:53 PM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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