Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $25,000)
DESCRIPTION (provided by the applicant): We propose to develop a new high-sensitivity method for fingerprint detection and visualization through a non-stoichiometric approach in which a fingerprint will serve indirectly as a catalyst in a chemical reaction to produce an enhanced and meaningful chemical signal through catalytic amplification. We intend to develop a set of bifunctional reagents with a head that can bind in a stoichiometric manner to fingerprint ingredients such as amino acids and a tail that can covalently bind gold nanoparticles of optimized characteristics. The resulting complex fingerprint/bifunctional reagent/gold nanoparticles will catalyze the precipitation of silver from a stabilized solution such as the Silver-Physical Developer solution, commonly used for fingerprint visualization. We intend to optimize both components of the formulation (bifunctional reagent and nanoparticle suspension) and the developing process for optimum results. The kit/process is expected to be more sensitive and selective than present visualization technologies and reveal even weak impressions with good contrast since the catalyst nanoparticles will be covalently attached to the fingerprint ridges through the bifunctional reagent. The proposal is based on the principle investigator's knowledge towards designing sensitive chemical reagents of hydrophilic and amphiphilic nature, nanoparticle formulation and characterization. For chemical compound characterization, standard synthetic chemistry instrumentation will be used, such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), High-Resolution Mass Spectrometer (HRMS), and Infrared Spectroscopy (IR), which are all provided within the department. After several novel 1,2-indanedione derivatives have been synthesized, we will test these compounds against gold nanoparticles and latent fingerprints for proof of concept. We will then further expand this project to produce synthetically optimized and more diverse set of reagents that could be easily synthesized at significantly reduced costs. We will develop a general synthetic methodology that could be readily applied and reproduced by using standard laboratory techniques.