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Optimization of the development of latent fingermarks on thermal papers

Hallez, Florine, Ledroit, Pierre, Henrot, Damien, Malo, Marianne, Tamisier, Laurent
Forensic science international 2019 v.298 pp. 20-33
forensic sciences, magnetism, paper, powders
Thermal papers, commonly used for printed receipts or lottery tickets, are omnipresent in our everyday life. They are regarded as semi-porous substrates, and yet can be critical to analyze when looking for latent fingermarks due to their thermosensibility. The aim of this study was to investigate a development sequence that would better combine the adequate detection techniques in order to maximize the chances to develop latent fingermarks left on these substrates. Different methods of development have been compared on test substrates: black magnetic powder, Lumicyano™, thermal development, ninhydrin and 1,2-indanedione/ZnCl2. Whitening stages and thermal development have been focused on, tested and optimized. The results of these preliminary tests enabled the study of three development sequences. They have subsequently been compared to the one currently used in the Gendarmerie’s laboratories and the best results have been provided during pseudo-operational comparative trials by one of these sequences, consisting in 6 stages.