Forensic applications of direct analysis in real time (DART) coupled to Q-orbitrap tandem mass spectrometry for the in situ analysis of pigments from paint evidence

Tai Hung Chen, Shu-Pao Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The accurate examination of paint fragments obtained from an accident, such as those obtained from vehicles involved in a hit-and-run case, is often critical in forensic investigations. However, organic pigments are typically minor components of automotive coatings, which makes discrimination difficult. In this study, direct analysis in real time coupled to Q-orbitrap tandem mass spectrometry (DART-MS) was employed to detect a wide range of common organic pigments in vehicle paints. Twelve common organic pigments used in vehicle paints, such as red, yellow, orange, and purple, were tested, and a database was constructed for future examinations of vehicle paint. Two hit-and-run vehicle accident cases, which occurred in New Taipei City, were investigated by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and DART-MS. First, FTIR spectroscopy was employed to study the paint samples as a preliminary screening step. Most of the observed IR peaks were attributed to binder and extenders present in paints. The IR peaks corresponding to the organic pigments were found to be weak and overlapped with those corresponding to resins. On the other hand, DART-MS successfully characterized the organic pigments. DART-MS was found to be excellent for rapidly determining the presence of organic pigments in paint samples without the need for a complicated pre-treatment process or lengthy analysis time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalForensic Science International
Volume277
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017

Keywords

  • DART-MS
  • FTIR
  • Organic pigments

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