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Physics and fingerprints

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This article discusses a variety of aspects in the detection and development of fingerprints and the physics involved in it. It gives an introduction to some basic issues like composition and properties of fingerprint deposits and a rudimentary framework of dactyloscopy; it covers various techniques for the visualization of latent fingerprints; and it concludes with a view of current research topics. The techniques range from very common procedures, such as powdering and cyanoacrylate fuming, to more demanding methods, for example luminescence and vacuum metal deposition, to fairly unusual approaches like autoradiography. The emphasis is placed on the physical rather than the forensic aspects of these topics while trying to give the physicist-who is not dealing with fingerprinting and forensic science on a daily basis-a feeling for the problems and solutions in the visualization of latent fingerprints.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dr.-Rody-Str. 6a, 65375 Oestrich-Winkel, Germany

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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