Detection of humidity-treated aged latent prints using cyanoacrylate fuming and a reflected ultraviolet imaging system (RUVIS)
Kwong, April V.
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For the past several decades, challenges in the detection and collection of latent prints exposed to harsh environmental conditions have inspired research in pretreatment methods prior to the application of chemical, physical, or optical-based enhancement techniques. Some of the difficulties associated with processing degraded latent prints are attributed to dehydration, alterations in chemical composition, and physical disturbance of ridge detail. This study seeks to investigate the effectiveness of humidity, cyanoacrylate fuming method (CFM), and a reflected ultraviolet imaging system (RUVIS) on the detection and collection of aged latent palmprints. Prints were exposed to air flow and ultraviolet (UV) light for a period of 0 to 28 days, and subsequently treated with either cool or warm humidity and CFM. RUVIS was then utilized to detect and capture friction ridge detail after each treatment step. Improvements in RUVIS detection between treatments were evaluated based on four response factors: minutiae count, percent print recovery, ridge thickness and contrast. By measuring these factors, each latent print photograph was able to be converted to quantifiable data to facilitate statistical analysis of potential differences or improvements between treatments. The results demonstrate that the application of 80% relative humidity successfully revived aged latent palmprints across all factors. The combined effect of humidity followed v by CFM treatment and RUVIS detection was greatest for minutiae count and ridge thickness, while percent print recovery and contrast demonstrated more modest improvements when compared to control prints. Additionally, cool temperature treatments outperformed warm temperature treatments across all factors except contrast. The data therefore suggest that to achieve print rejuvenation and overall improvements in RUVIS detection, combined cool humidity and CFM is more effective than humidity alone. The data also indicate a potential correlation between temperature treatments and latent print age. Warm humidity combined with CFM appeared to best enhance RUVIS images on fresher prints of a few days to one week old, while cool humidity and CFM appeared to maximally enhance RUVIS images on prints of several weeks old.