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Inherent Fluorescence Detection of Latent Fingermarks by Homemade Shortwave Ultraviolet Laser

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Detection of latent fingermarks on various substrates is critical in crime investigations. Conventional chemical methods using reagents could contaminate or even destruct biological information of samples. Here, an optical method and successful case application of detecting latent fingermarks through long‐wave ultraviolet (UV) fluorescence (300–400 nm) by shortwave UV laser excitation is reported. Experimental results indicate that the recovery rate of the latent fingermarks on various paper items is in the range of 70–80% without chemical treatments. Moreover, the optical method allows for the preservation of samples for further examination, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing. The technique has also been successfully applied to a criminal case in identifying the suspect, which, to the best of our knowledge, has never been reported in real crime investigations. Therefore, such a method as UV‐excited UV fluorescence in detecting latent fingermarks may be better for examination in cases where biological information of samples is needed for consequent testing.
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Keywords: detection; forensic science; latent fingermarks; polymerase chain reaction; shortwave ultraviolet laser; ultraviolet fluorescence

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2017

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