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Analyst. 2012 Aug 7;137(15):3459-65. doi: 10.1039/c2an35355e. Epub 2012 Jun 13.

Detection of microscopic particles present as contaminants in latent fingerprints by means of synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infra-red micro-imaging.

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Singapore Synchrotron Light Source, National University of Singapore, 5 Research Link, Singapore 117603.


Synchrotron radiation-based Fourier transform infra-red (SR-FTIR) micro-imaging has been developed as a rapid, direct and non-destructive technique. This method, taking advantage of the high brightness and small effective source size of synchrotron light, is capable of exploring the molecular chemistry within the microstructures of microscopic particles without their destruction at high spatial resolutions. This is in contrast to traditional "wet" chemical methods, which, during processing for analysis, often caused destruction of the original samples. In the present study, we demonstrate the potential of SR-FTIR micro-imaging as an effective way to accurately identify microscopic particles deposited within latent fingerprints. These particles are present from residual amounts of materials left on a person's fingers after handling such materials. Fingerprints contaminated with various types of powders, creams, medications and high explosive materials (3-nitrooxy-2,2-bis(nitrooxymethyl)propyl nitrate (PETN), 1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazinane (RDX), 2-methyl-1,3,5-trinitrobenzene (TNT)) deposited on various - daily used - substrates have been analysed herein without any further sample preparation. A non-destructive method for the transfer of contaminated fingerprints from hard-to-reach areas of the substrates to the place of analysis is also presented. This method could have a significant impact on forensic science and could dramatically enhance the amount of information that can be obtained from the study of fingerprints.

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