The analysis of white latex paint is a problem for forensic laboratories because of difficulty in differentiation between samples. Current methods provide limited information that is not suitable for discrimination. Elemental analysis of white latex paints has resulted in 99% discriminating power when using LA-ICP-MS; however, mass spectrometers can be prohibitively expensive and require a skilled operator. A quick, inexpensive, effective method is needed for the differentiation of white latex paints.
In this study, LIBS is used to analyze 24 white latex paint samples. LIBS is fast, easy to operate, and has a low cost. Results show that 98.1% of variation can be accounted for via principle component analysis, while Tukey pairwise comparisons differentiated 95.6% with potassium as the elemental ratio, showing that the discrimination capabilities of LIBS are comparable to those of LA-ICP-MS. Due to the many advantages of LIBS, this instrument should be considered a necessity for forensic laboratories.