Phase Transfer Catalysis in the Aid of Fingerprint Development

Gurvinder S. Sodhi, Jasjeet Kaur


This paper relates to the application of a novel spray formulation
for developing latent fingermarks on a wide range of crime
scene evidences. The formulation is based on a xanthene dye, rose
Bengal, and a phase transfer catalyst, t-tetrabutylammonium iodide.
It takes just 2-3 minutes to develop optimum on a broad spectrum
of fingerprint evidences of non-porous, semi porous and porous
substrates. It also detects fingerprints on items that are white and
multi-colored, and smooth and rough.
In addition, it develops fingerprints on a variety of adhesive
tapes, including duct tape, which is used by suicide bombers to
wrap explosives on their bodies.
It also detects impressions on such items that have been exposed
to water and high temperatures. The spray solution is prepared
in water. The ingredients of the formulation are non-toxic,
cheap and easily procurable.


Forensic Science, Fingerprints, Catalyst, Criminalistics, Xanthene Rose bengal.

Full Text:



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