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: 230161 Find in a Library
Title: Cultivating Methods to Enhance the Quality of Aged Fingerprints Developed by Cyanoacrylate Fuming
Author(s): Mark D. Dadmun Ph.D.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 27
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Grant Number: 2006-DN-BX-K031
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The experiments conducted in this project examined the molecular-level processes that impact the superglue (cyanoacrylate) fuming of a latent fingerprint, so as to provide fundamental information that can be used by forensic scientists to optimize the fuming process.
Abstract: The experiments were designed to reveal the role of water vapor in the chamber on the development process by fuming, to correlate the changes that occur in a latent print with aging to the processes that occur during the development of aged latent prints, and to understand the role of temperature on the print fuming process. The results indicate that the importance of humidity in the fuming of latent fingermarks comes from its role as a solvation agent for the initiators of the polymerization, creating an accessible solvated ion-pair rather than the less reactive tightly bound ion-pair. It was also found that aging resulted in ultraviolet (UV) degradation processes that decreased the pH of the fingermark, inhibiting the polymerization of ethyl cyanoacrylate (ECA) that is required to fume effectively a latent print. Fingermarks with less exposure to UV radiation will provide better prints. In examining the effect of temperature on the quality and amount of polymer formed on a fumed print, the experiment showed that lower temperatures provide more polymer and better quality prints. Lowering the temperature improved the rate of ECA polymerization, thus enhancing the efficiency and quality of fumed latent prints. This report advises that although these research results provide additional insight into the molecular-level details of the superglue fuming of fingermarks, they do not yet provide explicit protocols for improving the quality of latent fingerprints in the field; however, the findings can provide the information from which to design such protocols. Further research is required to fine-tune and test such protocols. 10 figures, 1 table, and 29 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Fingerprint age; Fingerprint detection techniques; Fingerprint image quality; Fingerprinting regulations; Latent fingerprints; NIJ grant-related documents
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.