Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Forensic Science, M.S.


Chemistry Department


Jinseok Heo, PhD.

First Reader

Jinseok Heo, PhD.

Second Reader

Kimberly Bagley, PhD.

Third Reader

Joonyeong Kim, PhD.


The use of Raman spectroscopy with Chemometric analysis has been well documented as an effective method for the identification of counterfeit pharmaceutical products. Due to an ongoing concern about the lack of transparency surrounding the manufacturing of generic pharmaceuticals in the US, this project aimed to examine the utility of the method for the differentiation of generic pharmaceuticals. A testing pool of six generic acetaminophen brands along with four unique samples of name brand Tylenol acetaminophen was obtained and representative tablets were characterized by Raman spectroscopy.

The results showed certain observable variance between brands and manufacturing lots. Two brands were determined to contain a titanium dioxide (TiO2) coating, allowing for simple differentiation based on examination of the Raman spectra. The Raman spectra of brands in which TiO2 was not observed were analyzed using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to examine the unique variance present in each brand. This revealed discrete groupings of lots and brands due to variance observable within the PCA projections. The project provides proof of concept for the differentiation of genuine articles by Raman spectroscopy and chemometrics and potential for the method to be used for classification and prediction of products.