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WIREs Forensic Sci

The forensic exploitation of fingermark chemistry: A review

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Abstract The substances deposited from the fingertip onto a surface during contact between them represent a highly complex range of chemicals that can be exploited in a variety of ways in a forensic investigation. An overview is given of the multitude of chemicals that have been detected in fingermarks, including those occurring in endogenous sweat, metabolites of ingested substances, and exogenous substances picked up on the fingertip. Changes in chemistry that may occur between deposition of the fingermark and its subsequent forensic analysis are discussed, with particular reference to the ways in which these changes have been considered as a means of dating fingermarks. The ways in which fingermark enhancement reagents utilize the different chemicals present to reveal ridge is reviewed, together with how different classes of chemical can be sequentially targeted to optimize the number of fingermarks recovered. A field of increasing interest is the use of advanced analytical techniques incorporating mass spectrometry and imaging capability to simultaneously obtain additional contextual information about the donor of the mark while visualizing the fingermark ridge pattern. Examples are given of how such information can be applied in forensic investigations. It is concluded that an extensive “tool kit” of fingermark enhancement processes is already available to utilize the different chemicals present, and the advances that can be made in this field using conventional approaches are limited. There is, instead, significant potential to utilize analytical techniques to forensically exploit the chemical information within fingermarks but there are also significant barriers to their implementation in this way. This article is categorized under: Crime Scene Investigation > From Traces to Intelligence and Evidence Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Fingermarks and Other Marks Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Emerging Technologies and Methods
Combined specialized light‐ATR‐FTIR imaging‐MALDI MSI analysis of a Condomi Max Love contaminated fingermark. (1) Fluorescence image of the mark using laser illumination at a wavelength of 532 nm and an orange viewing filter (cut‐on 549 nm). (2) A shows the reference FTIR spectra of vinyl PDMS (at 1258 cm−1) and PEG 3000 (at 1365 cm−1) superimposed with the spectrum of a BVDA gelatin lifter. Panels (b,c) show the ATR‐FTIR image of PDMS at 1258 cm−1 and the ATR‐FTIR image of PEG at 1365 cm−1 present on the same ridges of a Condomi Max Love contaminated fingermark selected region. Panel (d) shows two ATR‐FTIR spectra from the ridge (d1) and the valley (d2) (high and low concentration of the two polymers respectively). (3) MALDI MS images of 32‐mer, 33‐mer, and 34‐mer PEG ion signals, the complete ridge pattern provided by the image of the total ion current (TIC), as well as a small sample of the many fatty acids detected (Reprinted with permission from Bradshaw, Wolstenholme, et al. (2013). Copyright 2013 The Royal Society of Chemistry)
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A schematic representation of a processing sequence on porous surfaces
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A schematic diagram of a fingermark showing the different constituents present
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Chemical imaging of fingermarks by mass spectrometry. (a) DESI MS image of cis‐hexadecanenoic acid (m/z 253) from a groomed fingermark on glass (Reprinted with permission from Ifa et al. (2008). Copyright 2008 The American Association for the Advancement of Science); (b) MALDI MS image of oleic acid (m/z 283) on an aluminum slide (Reprinted with permission from Ferguson et al. (2013). Copyright 2013 John Wiley and Sons); (c) AgLDI image of squalene (m/z 517), in a latent fingermark on a lifting tape after dusting with green fluorescent powder and silver sputtering (Reprinted with permission from Lauzon et al. (2017). Copyright 2017 John Wiley and Sons)
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Chemical imaging of a fingermark: time of flight (TOF) SIMS image of potassium (K+) in a fingerprint deposited on brass, showing third level detail
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Micrographs (×10) of a fingertip, (a) clean fingertip, (b) contaminated with traces of blood, (c) residues from peeling an orange, and (d) residues from eating corn chips
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Fingermark images generated by dermicidin peptide. (a) Immunolabeled dermicidin‐generated image of an eccrine mark (Reprinted with permission from van Dam, Aalders, van de Braak, et al. (2013). Copyright 2013 Elsevier); (b) MALDI MSI image of dermicidin at m/z 4918 (Reprinted with permission from Francese (2015). Copyright 2015 Springer)
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Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Emerging Technologies and Methods
Forensic Chemistry and Trace Evidence > Fingermarks and Other Marks
Forensic Science in Action/Crime Scene Investigation > From Traces to Intelligence and Evidence

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