Steam development of latent fingerprints on thermal paper

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Forensic Identification, 2010, 60 (6), pp. 619 - 638
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The purpose of this study was to use a novel steam technique to develop latent fingerprints on thermal paper. Several factors were investigated including the mechanism of reaction, the effect of time since fingerprint deposition, and the ability to develop fingerprints on thermal paper obtained from a variety of sources. The mechanism of the reaction was found to be a reaction with unsaturated lipids from sebaceous secretions such as unsaturated fatty acids and squalene. The steam technique was effective at developing fingerprints up to four weeks since deposition. Steam developed identifiable fingerprints on a wide variety of thermal paper, with a success rate of 41% overall. These results are comparable to other techniques used in law enforcement today. It was concluded that the steam technique is a viable method for developing latent fingerprints on thermal paper.
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