Exploitation of the Ultraviolet Properties and Machine Cut Edges of Paper to Associate and Sequence Sheets in a Ream

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Abstract

Previously unreported line patterns visible under ultraviolet light were observed on a proportion of plain white A4 printer/copier paper from different manufacturers. These Ultraviolet Line Patterns (UVLPs) usually appear as stripes down the vertical length of the paper. Typically, the UVLPs were found to “repeat” through the ream in a predictable way, while also changing. It is postulated that the repeating nature of the UVLPs is a result of the way that paper is manufactured. This leads to the ability to sequence the sheets compared to their original source paper. Even in the absence of UVLPs, it is possible to use our observation of the manufacturing process to anticipate the order of several sheets of paper and conclusively associate them, in some cases, by physically fitting their machine cut edges and crossing paper fibers. Such a novel approach to examining questioned documents would be highly useful in forensic casework.

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