EAS Papers

Next week, The Eastern Analytical Symposium (EAS) 2022 will be held in Plainsborough, NJ. On Monday, 14 November, Microtrace Vice President Dr. Christopher Palenik will offer two papers authored by Microtrace scientists. In the morning, Dr. Palenik will present an “Examination of Pigmented Fibers for Trace Evidence Applications,” in the session “Forensic Analysis: Innovations and Technological Advancements.” In the afternoon, he will speak on “Microscopical Analysis Applied to the Detection and Sourcing of Counterfeit Products,” in the session “Challenges of Counterfeit Detection in Pharmaceutical Industry.”

EAS 2022 runs from 14 to 16 November. To learn more about the symposium or to register, click here.


“Examination of Pigmented Fibers for Trace Evidence Applications,” Christopher Palenik, Kelly Beckert, Ethan Groves, Skip Palenik, Otyllia Abraham- Microtrace LLC

Pigmented (i.e., solution dyed) fibers are colored through the addition of fine, solid pigment particles prior to extrusion and are encountered in an increasing range of applications.  As this presentation will demonstrate, a variety of different pigments may be present within a single fiber, and thus the identity, relative concentration, morphology, and particle size of each represent additional points of comparison and potential significance during a forensic fiber comparison.  Despite this wealth of information, pigmented fibers have never been systematically researched and as a result are rarely, if ever, exploited in a forensic analysis.

This research aims to expand this knowledge base by presenting a systematic, microscopical study of pigmented fibers using forensic methods accessible to a trace laboratory.  The fibers selected for study have been drawn from an internally developed, curated collection obtained from fiber manufacturers that span a variety of commercial applications, polymer types, and colors.  This presentation will summarize results arising from a critical study of this sample set by polarized light, oil immersion, and fluorescence microscopy.  This direct study of pigments within fibers is supported by research into sample preparation techniques, including longitudinal mounts and cross sections, optimized to maximize the resolution of individual pigment particles that often approach, or at times exceed (are less than) the resolution limits afforded by light microscopy.  The result is the development of a systematic technical method to recognize and study pigmented fibers that also provides insights into questions of interpretation and significance.

“Microscopical Analysis Applied to the Detection and Sourcing of Counterfeit Products,” Christopher Palenik- Microtrace LLC

Certain key questions are common to counterfeiting investigations.  Is a product authentic?  Can contravened goods from multiple shipments be associated?  Can the origin of goods be attributed to a specific geographic source or route (geolocation/source attribution/route attribution)?  The microscopy and microanalysis of pharmaceutical products, specifically the characterization of the individual components that comprise the drug product and its packaging can be used to answer, or at least place constraints on, such questions.  In the drug product, the size, distribution and composition of the API and excipients and the structure of the product (e.g., tablets, films, liquids, and lyophilized product) can provide insights. Trace reaction products may also indicate that a different synthetic reaction pathway was utilized.  Drug packaging can be composed of different materials, layer structures, coatings, adhesives, and marking inks.  Finally, contaminants in both the product and packaging, which may arise from different ingredients sources or less pristine manufacturing environments can also be used to identify and discriminate counterfeit from authentic products.  Ultimately, the specific information and relevant analytical approach applied to a given sample depends on the product, its components, and the specific questions being asked; however, information of this type can be used to confirm authenticity, recognize counterfeit products and intellectual property transgressions, group counterfeit products from different sources, and constrain their geographic origin.  This presentation illustrates these applications of microanalysis through examples that span counterfeiting investigations in the pharmaceutical, food, and consumer goods industries, forensic criminal investigations, fine art and high-value collectibles, and intellectual property litigation.

Eastern Analytical Symposium

The Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition (EAS) is held each year to provide professional scientists and students continuing education in the analytical and allied sciences through the presentation of symposia of papers, workshops, and short courses. An exposition of apparatus and supplies allied to these sciences is held concurrently with the symposia.


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