Date of Award

Spring 6-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Forensic Science



First Advisor or Mentor

Ali Kocak

Second Reader

Antonio Delvalle

Third Advisor

Mircea Alex Comanescu


This investigation compares the ability of Attenuated Total Reflection Fourier Transfer Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR FT-IR) and Surface Enhance Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) to identify and differentiate different hair dye brands on dyed hair samples. Hair is a common type of trace evidence found at crime scenes and can provide numerous information through forensic hair analysis. Cosmetic hair treatment such as dying the hair different colors has grown and became popular, thus it can be a very common type of trace evidence. This study can provide a forensic scientist an additional method for analyzing dyed hair samples. The goal was to compare both techniques and determine which can provide precise and accurate results so that future work can be done to create a database of identified hair dyes to aid in the forensic examination of hair. Different extraction methods and solvents were tested for recovering hair dye from black, brown, blonde, and red dyed hair. This study reveals that SERS using silver nanoparticles was not able to differentiate different dye brands extracted from hair samples. Based on previous researchers’ success with SERS, future work can be done with SERS using gold nanoparticles instead of silver nanoparticles to determine, if possible, enhancement can be achieved. However, single-reflection and multi-reflection ATR techniques combined with the n-propanol extraction method successfully differentiated hair dye colorants and hair dyes for dyed hair. The successful differentiation of hair dyes was achieved by visual examination of IR spectra and statical analysis using PLSDA predications comparing the characteristic bands and achieving high prediction accuracy.



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