The effects of polymer pigmentation on fingermark development techniques

Simon R. Bacon, Jesus J. Ojeda, Rory Downham, Vaughn G. Sears, Benjamin J. Jones*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The effectiveness of latent fingerprint development techniques is heavily influenced by the physical and chemical properties of the deposition surface. The use of powder suspensions is increasing for development of prints on a range of surfaces. We demonstrate that carbon powder suspension development on polymers is detrimentally affected by the presence of common white pigment, titanium dioxide. Scanning electron microscopy demonstrates that patches of the compound are clearly associated with increased levels of powder adhesion. Substrates with nonlocalized titanium dioxide content also exhibit increased levels of carbon powder staining on a surface-wide basis. Secondary ion mass spectrometry and complementary techniques demonstrate the importance of levels of the pigment within the top 30 nm. The association is independent of fingermark deposition and may be related to surface energy variation. The detrimental effect of the pigment is not observed with small-particle reagent (MoS2 SPR) or cyanoacrylate (superglue) fuming techniques that exploit different development mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1486-1494
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number6
Early online date3 Jul 2013
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Forensic science
  • Latent fingerprints
  • Polymers
  • Powder suspension
  • Surface chemistry
  • Carbon


Dive into the research topics of 'The effects of polymer pigmentation on fingermark development techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Microscopy in forensic science

    Jones, B. J., 17 Sept 2019, Springer handbook of microscopy. Hawkes, P. W. & Spence, J. C. H. (eds.). Cham: Springer, p. 1507-1523 17 p. (Springer Handbooks).

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    Open Access
    3 Citations (Scopus)
    722 Downloads (Pure)

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