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Analysis of Latent Fingerprint Deposits by Infrared Microspectroscopy

Volume 58, Number 3 (March 2004) Page 313-316

Williams, Diane K.; Schwartz, Rebecca L.; Bartick, Edward G.


We report the use of infrared (IR) microspectroscopy for the analysis of fingerprint residues. The advantage of using an IR microscope lies in the ability to visualize and obtain spectra of individual particles and droplets that make up fingerprint ridge deposits at a spatial resolution of approximately 10 μm. Our initial results suggest that infrared microspectroscopy in reflection-absorption mode provides reproducible spectral analysis of fingerprint residue. Since infrared microspectroscopy is nondestructive to the sample, we will be able to study the changes in fingerprint ridge deposits as a function of time. The method holds promise for probing the difference between latent fingerprints of adults and children.