Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Review of Progress in Quantitative Nondestructive Evaluation

Publication Date



Chicago, IL


The objective of this paper is to describe the use of a new technique of optical profilometry in a nondestructive, non‐contact fashion for the comparison of two metallic surfaces, one hard and one soft. When brought in contact with one another, the harder material (i.e. the tool) will impress its surface roughness onto the softer. It is understood that the resulting set of impressions left from a tool tip act in a manner similar to a photographic negative, in that it leaves a reverse, or negative impression on the surface of a plate. If properly inverted and reversed, measurements from the softer material should be identical to the harder indenting object with regard to surface texture and roughness. This assumption is inherent in the area of forensics, where bullets, cartridge cases, and toolmarked surfaces from crime scenes are compared to similar marks made under controlled conditions in the forensic laboratory. This paper will examine the methodology used to compare two surfaces for similarities and dissimilarities, and comment on the applicability of this technique to other studies.


Copyright 2009 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics.

This article appeared in AIP Conference Proceedings, 1096 (2009): 1665–1671 and may be found at:

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American Institute of Physics




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