Fingermarks can be left on a wide variety of surfaces and this presents a challenge to investigators who need to be able to visualise these marks.

Fingermarks along with DNA analysis are two of the most commonly used forensic tools in a criminal investigation. Fingermarks can be left on a wide variety of surfaces and this presents a challenge to investigators who need to be able to visualise these marks.

Researchers at Foster + Freeman have been researching the use of a chromium-doped zinc gallogermanate fingermark powder that can be activated by sunlight to phosphoresce. This helps to ‘remove’ the background of the surface allowing a clear view of the fingermark.

This research has been published in Forensic Science International and can be accessed via Science Direct (please note it is not open access).

A research collaboration between the University of Wolverhampton and Foster + Freeman has also been investigating the effect of fingermark powder on the recovery of touch DNA. When examining a crime scene or exhibit the order in which different analytical techniques are applied is significant as it can affect the quality and quality of evidence gathered. This research determined that when fingermarks on glass slides were treated with Foster + Freeman’s fpNatural 1TM powder there was no reduction in the yield or quality of DNA subsequently recovered from those fingermarks when compared to untreated marks. This indicates that, at least in the case of this particular powder, the application of fingermark enhancement techniques doesn’t prevent subsequent DNA analysis.

This research has been published in Forensic Science International and can be accessed via Science Direct (please note it is not open access).

Share this article