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Photo- and Thermal-Degradation Studies of Select Eccrine Fingerprint Constituents

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Photo- and thermal-degradation studies on eccrine fingerprint components are presented herein. Dilute distinct solutions of urea, lactic acid, and seven amino acids were deposited on steel coupons and Teflon® disks, exposed to artificial sunlight or heat, extracted, and analyzed. This aim of this study was to determine whether the investigated eccrine components, previously determined to be Raman active for a parallel study, experienced photo- or thermally induced degradation, and if so, to determine the rate and identify any detectable products. Neither the amino acids nor urea exhibited photo-degradation; however, when heated for a period of three minutes, the onset of thermal-degradation was initiated at 100°C for the amino acids and 100°C for urea. Lactic acid, the major polymerization initiator of superglue fuming, showed photochemical and thermal-degradation. These results could be used for future development of new latent fingerprint visualization methods, especially when lactic acid is degraded.

Keywords: artificial eccrine fingerprint; atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-mass spectrometry; fingerprint chemistry; forensic science; latent fingerprint; liquid chromatography-electrospray mass spectrometry; photo-degradation; thermal-degradation

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Bethel Valley Road, Building 4500N, Rm. F56, MS 6120, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. 2: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, NTRC Building MS 6159, 2360 Cherahala Blvd. Knoxville, TN 37932. 3: Phenomenex, Inc., 411 Madrid Avenue, Torrance, CA 90501.

Publication date: July 1, 2010


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