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A Journal on Forensic Medicine




Minerva Medicolegale 2009 March;129(1):19-34

language: English

Crime scene work: a review of recent advances in finger mark visualization

Bond J. W.

Department Scientific Support Department Northamptonshire Police Force Headquarters Wootton Hall Northampton NN4 0JQ, UK
Forensic Research Centre, University of Leicester Leicester, UK


The enhancement and visualization of latent finger marks deposited at the scene of a crime remains the most effective means of identifying an offender by forensic science and hence of solving the crime. In this review are consider recent advances in the visualization of latent finger marks deposited as secretions of sweat. In addition to describing improvements in both the application and understanding of tried and tested visualization techniques such as cyanoacrylate fuming, ninhydrin and multimetal deposition, the recent application of technologies such as Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, micro X-ray fluorescence, optical coherence tomography and a scanning Kelvin microprobe are also considered. The application of developing technologies such as metal nanoparticles and excitation by super luminescent light emitting diodes is also examined. The corrosion of different metallic elements and alloys by latent finger mark deposits is discussed and new techniques to visualize an image of a finger mark after the deposit has been removed are described. Examples are given throughout of the degree of latent finger mark visualization that these techniques offer and of their potential advantages to those working in the finger mark visualization area of forensic science.

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