Serial numbers are widely used as a means of identifying otherwise identical parts, ranging from keys and firearms to bike frames and passports. Hence they can be of great value in tracing the origin or history of an item. As such, it is common to find that serial numbers have been removed when dealing with stolen or counterfeit parts. The ability to reconstruct a serial number which has been removed is therefore of great use when trying to trace an item e.g. in a forensic setting. Here, we demonstrate the ability of EBSD to detect otherwise invisible plastic deformation introduced to the sample by the engraving process allowing the reconstruction of a polished away serial number.
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