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Then you should have used the same exact pen as the original, since the FBI and the Secret Service have teamed up to crack those kinds of cases simply through ink analysis.Anytime you write something down, it's more than your handwriting that can give you away. It contains inks dating to the 1920s, pens Secret Service agents collected on worldwide travels, and annually updated samples solicited from ink manufacturers.Each of these approaches provides a set of facts about an artifact's condition, age or origins.The method of choice for any given situation is determined by several factors, including: the objectives of the investigator (authentication, preservation, personal curiosity); the relative value of the paper (historically, legally, personally); and whether the information gained from destructive testing will outweigh the loss of material samples.They take small punches of the paper to determine if any color from the paper shows up in the ink sample. Understanding the type of paper not only gives investigators another clue, but also tells them more about the properties of the ink.

Want to cover up insider trading by adding information to a stock worksheet after the fact?"The chemistry of ink is such that it is rare that the color the human eye perceives is the color the dye is that is used," Stephens says.By comparing the bands to the over 11,400 inks in the library, the analysts can pinpoint the manufacturers creating the specific ink.The chase doesn't end there, because ink doesn't stand alone.To get the full picture, investigators also need to take into account the paper. But with an uncoated piece, such as typical computer paper, ink seeps right in, Barker says.

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