skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 184323 Find in a Library
Title: Method for Characterization of Adhesion Properties of Trace Explosives in Fingerprints and Fingerprint Simulations
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:45  Issue:4  Dated:July 2000  Pages:774-784
Author(s): Denis J. Phares Ph.D.; Gregory T. Smedley Ph.D.; Richard C. Flagan Ph.D.; Jason K. Holt M.S.
Date Published: July 2000
Page Count: 11
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study used a simple and reproducible sampling system to determine the accuracy of a fingerprint simulation to aid the quantitative comparison of particulate sampling methods used for the detection of trace residues of explosive particulates.
Abstract: The nearly inevitable transfer of explosive particulate matter through fingerprints makes it possible to detect concealed explosives through surface sampling. The sampling system in this study used a gas jet to entrain particles from a substrate; the resulting airborne particles were then aspirated onto a Teflon filter. A calibrated Barringer IonScan 400 ion mobility spectrometer was used to determine the mass of explosive material collected on the filter. The IonScan 400 was calibrated with known masses of 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene (TNT). Results revealed that the resulting calibration curve was in good agreement with that obtained by Garofolo and others in 1994 for an earlier model of the instrument. The study measured the collection efficiency of the sampling system for three particle sizes, using spherical polystyrene particles laced with known quantities of TNT. Collection efficiency ranged from less than 1 percent for the larger particles to 5 percent for the smaller particles. Dark field imaging of the remaining particles monitored particle entrainment from the surface. The sampling system was then applied to two C4 test samples: a fingerprint transfer and a dry Teflon transfer. More than 100 nanograms of RDX were collected from the dry transfer; less than from the fingerprint transfer. Findings demonstrated a system capable of subjecting particulate deposits to known aerodynamic shear stresses to study the forces binding micron sized particles of explosives to surfaces. However, improvement is needed at larger particle sizes where inertial effects limit the collection efficiency. Figures, tables, and 17 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Police staff services units
Index Term(s): Explosive detection; Fingerprint detection techniques; Fingerprint image quality; Fingerprints; Forensic sciences; Trace evidence
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.