U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Fingermark Simulants and Their Inherent Problems: A Comparison with Latent Fingermark Deposits

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Identification Volume: 63 Issue: 5 Dated: September - October 2013 Pages: 593-608
Sara Zadnik; Wilhelm van Bronswijk; Amanda A. Frick; Patrick Fritz; Simon W. Lewis
Date Published
October 2013
16 pages
This study examined the use of commercially available fingermark simulants as quality control standards in forensic laboratories.
Commercially available fingermark simulants were compared to latent fingermark deposits to assess their efficacy as standards for a quality control assessment of fingermark development reagents. Deposits of the simulants and latent fingermarks were made on paper substrates and were developed using reagents that target amino acids (ninhydrin, 1,2-indanedione) and sebaceous secretions (Oil Red O, physical developer). The resulting marks were compared for visibility and color. Significant differences were observed between the simulants and latent fingermarks in response to the fingermark development reagents. Infrared spectroscopic analysis of the simulants compared to untreated latent fingermarks revealed differences in chemical composition. These results indicate that these simulants are not well suited as quality control standards in forensic laboratories and should be used with extreme caution in any form of research into latent fingermark detection. (Published Abstract)