Microwave Selective Thermal Development of Latent Fingerprints on Porous Surfaces: Potentialities of the Method and Preliminary Experimental Results*

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The thermal development of latent fingerprints on paper surfaces is a simple, safe, and chemicals-free method, based on the faster heating of the substrate underlying the print residue. Microwave heating is proposed for the first time for the development of latent fingerprints on cellulose-based substrate, in order to add to the thermal development mechanism the further characteristic of being able to heat the fingerprint residues to a different extent with respect to the substrate, due to the intrinsic difference in their dielectric properties. Numerical simulation was performed to confirm and highlight the selectivity of microwaves, and preliminary experimental results point out the great potentialities of this technique, which allowed developing both latent sebaceous-rich and latent eccrine-rich fingerprints on different porous surfaces, in less than 30 sec time with an applied output power of 500 W. Microwaves demonstrated more effectiveness in the development of eccrine-rich residues, aged up to 12 weeks.

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