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Colorful Tape

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posted on 06.10.2021, 21:52 by Rachel Sandquist
Tapes, like duct tape, are items that most people encounter daily without giving them a second thought. Criminals however, have found nefarious uses for tapes. They have found tapes to be useful as bindings for hands or as construction material for improvised explosive devices: A tape’s use is limited only by a criminal’s creativity. My research aims to expand upon and optimize the way tapes are analyzed in crime labs through the use a microspectrophotometer. This instrument measures a sample’s electromagnetic absorption in the ultraviolet or visible ranges. More simply, this instrument quantifies color. As this image of the surface of a piece of duct tape shows, a tape’s colors are surprisingly unique. The observation and quantification of these unique colors has the potential to increase a forensic scientist’s ability to identify and discriminate between tape samples. At only 100x magnification, the vivid colors of this otherwise unassuming tape pop out and exemplify why careful consideration of a tape’s color may help to answer the “who dun it?” of a crime.


This exhibit competition is organized by the University of Illinois at Chicago Graduate College and the University Library.


Publisher Statement

Forensic Science; Honorable Mention; Copyright 2019, Rachel Sandquist. Used with permission. For more information, contact the Graduate College at gradcoll@uic.edu

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