Diacetylene copolymers for fingermark development

Elsevier Inc
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Forensic Science International, 2012, 216 (1-3), pp. 189 - 197
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In 1979, Miller and Patel showed that a solution containing two diacetylene monomers, 2,4-hexadiyne-1,6-bis(phenylurethane) (HDDPU) and 2,4-hexadiyne-1,6-bis(p-chlorophenylurethane) (HDDCPU) could be used to develop latent fingermarks on a non-porous surface. In the current work, the same mixture (HDDPU:HDDCPU = 10:1, in acetone solution) was used to develop fingermarks on a wide variety of surfaces, both non-porous and porous, including paper. An airbrush system was optimized for the application of the reagent solution. Once the solution evaporates on a surface, the monomers co-crystallize in different ways, depending upon a number of factors, including the surface residue. Active co-crystallization leads (with heat or radiation) to the formation of purple polymer, while inactive crystallization results in a non-polymerizable white deposit. Fingermark contrast was achieved as a result of active co-crystallization (giving purple polymer) in either the ridges or the furrows, depending upon the surface and other factors. A general observation (supported by spot tests with linseed oil, salt and amino acid solutions) was that on paper, oily materials are more likely to lead to the formation of the purple polymer, while the presence of water inhibits polymerization.
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