Refreshing the Aged Latent Fingerprints with Ionizing Radiation Prior to the Cyanoacrylate Fuming Procedure: A Preliminary Study*

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Abstract

One of the crucial factors determining the cyanoacrylate deposit quality over latent fingerprints appeared to be the extent of the humidity. This work focuses on the enhancement/refreshment of age-degraded latent fingerprints by irradiating the samples with UV, X-ray, or thermal neutrons prior to the cyanoacrylate (CA) fuming. Age degradation of latent fingerprints deposited on glass surfaces was examined through the decrease in the number of characteristic minutiae counts over time. A term “critical day” was introduced for the time at which the average number of identifiable minutiae definitions drops to one-half. Fingerprints older than their “critical day” were exposed to either UV, X-ray, or thermal neutrons. Identical reference samples were kept unexposed. All samples, both reference and irradiated, were developed during a single CA fuming procedure. Comparative latent fingerprint analysis showed that exposure to ionizing radiation enhances the CA fuming, yielding a 20-30% increase in average minutiae count.

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