Issue 22, 2016

Recent advances in the chemical imaging of human fingermarks (a review)


This review highlights the considerable advances in the chemical imaging of human fingermarks that provide more chemical information, including numerous endogenous and exogenous constituents. Despite remarkable development in DNA analysis and recognition, human fingermark analysis remains one of the priority approaches available for obtaining reliable forensic evidence. Additional information about the donor can be obtained from the chemical composition of latent fingermarks in addition to the ridge pattern, such as the age, gender, medical history, and possible drug habits. The analytical approaches reviewed here include spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, immuno-labelling and electrochemical methods. Each method has different capabilities with respect to sensitivity, reproducibility, selectivity, reliability and ultimately applicability, either for use in routine forensic practice or in academic research work. The advantages of spectroscopic techniques, including infrared, Raman and micro-X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, are the capabilities of a rapid and non-destructive imaging of fingermarks by providing spectral information on chemical composition. In addition, mass spectrometry imaging can provide spatially specific information on fingermark chemical composition. Recently, the use of immuno-labelling in latent fingermark detection has attracted significant attention because it can overcome the sensitivity and selectivity problems experienced with other existing methods. The electrochemical method has also been employed to image latent fingermarks by measuring the electric current changes with the spatial chemical composition from the ridges and valleys at high resolution to provide a third level of detail, which is especially useful for multicoloured background surfaces or for surfaces contaminated with blood or other bodily fluids.

Graphical abstract: Recent advances in the chemical imaging of human fingermarks (a review)

Article information

Article type
16 May 2016
12 Sep 2016
First published
12 Sep 2016
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Analyst, 2016,141, 6172-6189

Recent advances in the chemical imaging of human fingermarks (a review)

Q. Wei, M. Zhang, B. Ogorevc and X. Zhang, Analyst, 2016, 141, 6172 DOI: 10.1039/C6AN01121G

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