The recovery of latent fingermarks from evidence exposed to ionizing radiation
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2009, 54 (3), pp. 583 - 590
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Continual reports of illicit trafficking incidents involving radioactive materials have prompted authorities to consider the likelihood of forensic evidence being exposed to radiation. In this study, we investigated the ability to recover latent fingermark evidence from a variety of substrates that were exposed to ionizing radiation. Fingermarks deposited on common surfaces, including aluminum, glass, office paper, and plastic, were exposed to doses ranging from 1 to 1000 kGy, in an effort to simulate realistic situations where evidence is exposed to significant doses of radiation from sources used in a criminal act. The fingermarks were processed using routine fingermark detection techniques. With the exception of glass and aluminum substrates, radiolysis had a considerable effect on the quality of the developed fingermarks. The damage to ridge characteristics can, in part, be attributed to chemical interactions between the substrate and the components of the fingermark secretions that react with the detection reagents. © 2009 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
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