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Special Section on Nanostructured Thin Films: Fabrication, Characterization, and Application

Columnar-thin-film acquisition of fingerprint topology

[+] Author Affiliations
Robert C. Shaler

Pennsylvania State University, Forensic Science Program and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

Akhlesh Lakhtakia

Pennsylvania State University, Materials Research Institute and Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

Jessica W. Rogers

Pennsylvania State University, Forensic Science Program, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

Drew P. Pulsifer

Pennsylvania State University, Materials Research Institute and Department of Engineering Science and Mechanics, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

Raúl J. Martín-Palma

Pennsylvania State University, Materials Research Institute and Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802

J. Nanophoton. 5(1), 051509 (March 17, 2011). doi:10.1117/1.3556154
History: Received September 28, 2010; Accepted November 10, 2010; Published March 17, 2011; Online March 17, 2011
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Fingerprint visualization obtained from physical evidence taken from crime scenes for subsequent comparison typically requires the use of physical and chemical techniques. One physical technique to visualize or develop sebaceous fingerprints on various surfaces employs the deposition of metals such as gold and zinc thereon. We have developed a different vacuum technology: the conformal-evaporated-film-by-rotation technique to deposit dense columnar thin films (CTFs) on latent fingerprints on different types of surfaces. Sample fingerprints, acting as nonplanar substrates, deposited on different surfaces were placed in a vacuum chamber with the fingerprint side facing a boat containing an evaporant material such as chalcogenide glass. Thermal evaporation of the solid material led to the formation of a dense CTF on the fingerprint, thereby capturing the topographical texture with high resolution. Our results show that it is possible to acquire the topology of latent fingerprints on nonporous surfaces. Additionally, deposition of CTFs on overlapping fingerprints suggested ours may be a technique for elucidating the sequence of deposition of the fingerprints at the scene.

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© 2011 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE)

Citation

Robert C. Shaler ; Akhlesh Lakhtakia ; Jessica W. Rogers ; Drew P. Pulsifer and Raúl J. Martín-Palma
"Columnar-thin-film acquisition of fingerprint topology", J. Nanophoton. 5(1), 051509 (March 17, 2011). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3556154


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