Identification of British one pound counterfeit coins using laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy

Andrew Appleby, Thangavel Thevar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


The use of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) as a low-cost, nondestructive method for detecting counterfeit coins was examined. A pulsed laser was used to evaporate a minute amount of coin surface, and the emanating plasma was interrogated with an entry-level spectrometer. The spectra produced showed evidence of lead content in six of the eight counterfeits examined. Thus, LIBS could offer a viable low-cost technique for identifying a significant number of fake coins.
Original languageEnglish
Article number044104
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalOptical Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful to Robert Matthews, C.Chem., MRSC for his generous loan of seven of the counterfeit coins.


  • laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy
  • counterfeit coin detection
  • British one pound coin


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