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Determining the chronology of deposition of natural fingermarks and inks on paper using secondary ion mass spectrometry

Attard-Montalto, Nicola, Ojeda, Jesus J., Reynolds, Alan, Ismail, Mahado, Bailey, Melanie, Doodkorte, Lisette, de Puit, Marcel and Jones, Benjamin (2014) Determining the chronology of deposition of natural fingermarks and inks on paper using secondary ion mass spectrometry. The Analyst, 139. pp. 4641-4653. ISSN 00032654

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This study thoroughly explores the use of time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) for determining the deposition sequence of fingermarks and ink on a porous paper surface. Our experimental work has demonstrated that mapping selected endogenous components present in natural fingermarks enables the observation of friction ridges on a laser-printed surface, only when a fingerprint is deposited over this layer of ink. Further investigations have shown limited success on ink-jet printing and ballpoint pen inks. 51 blind tests carried out on natural, latent fingermarks on laser-printed surfaces; up to 14th depletion with samples aged for up to 421 days have resulted in a 100% success rate. Development with ninhydrin was found to affect the fingermark residue through mobilisation of ions, therefore sequencing determination was compromised; whilst iodine fuming and 1,2-indanedione developers did not. This implied that selected development methods affected success in fingermark-ink deposition order determination. These results were further corroborated through inter-laboratory validation studies. The adopted protocol and extensive series of tests have therefore demonstrated the effectiveness and limitations of ToF-SIMS in providing chronological sequencing information of fingermarks on questioned documents; successfully resolving this order of deposition query.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
Schools: School of Applied Sciences
Depositing User: Graham Stone
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2014 07:26
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2015 11:44


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