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Comparative Study of Electrochromic Enhancement of Latent Fingerprints with Existing Development Techniques*

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Abstract:  To address the challenge of capturing latent fingerprint evidence from metal surfaces, a new method of latent fingerprint enhancement based on electrochromic polymer films has recently been developed. Here, we present a study comparing the development and visualization of nonvisible fingerprints on stainless steel substrates using this electrochromic enhancement approach with three classical methods (dusting, wet powder, and cyanoacrylate fuming). Two variants of the electrochromic enhancement method were utilized with polyaniline and poly(3,4‐ethylenedioxythiophene) as the electrochromic materials. Fingerprint samples were taken from different donors (varying in age and gender) and were exposed to different environments for systematically varied periods of time (up to 28 days). The environments represent plausible evidential scenarios: left under ambient conditions, washed with aqueous soap solution, washed with acetone, submerged in water, and maintained at elevated temperature. The electrochromic enhancement procedure frequently outperformed the traditional methods, particularly for samples exposed to more challenging histories.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Chemistry, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, U.K.

Publication date: January 1, 2012

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