Volume 48, Issue 5 (September 2003)
Modifications to the Silver Physical Developer
The silver physical developer is currently the most successful reagent used for visualizing the water-insoluble components (e.g., lipids) of latent prints on porous surfaces. It is normally used after the amino acid visualizing reagents (e.g., ninhydrin and DFO) are used. This work found that the performance of the current formulation of silver physical developer is strongly reduced when the water used is changed from the usual distilled water to the more purified reverse osmosis/deionized (RO/DI) water. Based on numerous experiments involving the systematic variation of the component concentrations, the performance was restored and even improved by reducing the concentration of all the components (except that of the ferric salt) and by including malic acid in the formulation. These modifications resulted in a new silver physical developer formulation that performs as well as or better than the current formulation and is less expensive to make.