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Analyst. 2003 Jan;128(1):82-7.

Fourier-transform Raman characterization of brazilwood trees and substitutes.

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  • 1Department of Chemical and Forensic Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK BD7 1DP. h.g.m.edwards@bradford.ac.uk


In this work we have applied Fourier-transform Raman spectroscopy to the analysis of several archival samples of brazilwoods from different geographical origins and of different ages. Samples of Caesalpinia echinata Lam. (from Brazil, South America), Caesalpinia sappan L. (East Indies, Asia), Haematoxylum brasiletto Karsten (Central America) and Haematoxylum campechianum L. (North America) were analysed in order to isolate key Raman biomarker bands which could provide the basis for an identification protocol. Previously recorded Raman spectra of brazilin and brazilein pigments extracted from genuine brazilwood of Brazilian origin provided a foundation for the nondestructive spectral discrimination between a sample of false 'brazilwood', which consisted of an inferior wood substratum stained with genuine pigment, and the true specimens. The provision of well-documented specimens of determinable age from the archival collection facilitated the evaluation of the effects of temporal degradation on the observed spectra, which could be used to further test the experimental protocols for nondestructive verification of samples in the archive with questionable assignment or provenance.

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