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Comparison of the Columnar-Thin-Film and Vacuum-Metal-Deposition Techniques To Develop Sebaceous Fingermarks on Nonporous Substrates

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 60 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2015 Pages: 295-302
Date Published
March 2015
8 pages
This study used a split-print methodology on a variety of fingermarked substrates to determine whether the columnar-thin-film (CTF) technique is superior to the vacuum-metal-deposition (VMU) for developing fingermarks on clear sandwich bags and partial bloody fingermarks on stainless steel.
Both the CTF and the VMD techniques for visualizing sebaceous fingermarks require the deposition of a material thereon in a vacuum chamber. Despite that similarity, there are many differences between the two techniques. The film deposited with the CTF technique has a columnar morphology, but the film deposited with the VMD technique comprises discrete islands. The current study found that both techniques are similar in their ability to develop fingermarks on glass, but the CTF technique yields higher contrast. The VMD technique was superior for developing fingermarks on white grocery bags and the smooth side of Gloss Finish Scotch Multitask tape. Neither technique worked well for fingermarks on black garbage bags. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: March 1, 2015