Jones, Benjamin, Reynolds, A.J., Richardson, M. and Sears, V.G. (2010) Nano-scale composition of commercial white powders for development of latent fingerprints on adhesives. Science & Justice, 50 (3). pp. 150-155. ISSN 13550306
Abstract

Titanium dioxide based powders are regularly used in the development of latent fingerprints on dark surfaces. For analysis of prints on adhesive tapes, the titanium dioxide can be suspended in a surfactant and used in the form of a powder suspension. Commercially available products, whilst having nominally similar composition, show varying levels of effectiveness of print development, with some powders adhering to the background as well as the print.

X-ray fluorescence (XRF), analytical transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and laser particle sizing of the fingerprint powders show TiO2 particles with a surrounding coating, tens of nanometres thick, consisting of Al and Si rich material, with traces of sodium and sulphur. Such aluminosilicates are commonly used as anti-caking agents and to aid adhesion or functionality of some fingerprint powders; however, the morphology, thickness, coverage and composition of the aluminosilicates are the primary differences between the white powder formulations and could be related to variation in the efficacy of print development.

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