The design of chemical compounds for development of latent fingerprints is explored computationally. Our main findings are: (a) We show why past attempts to improve the widely used ninhydrin gave relatively small improvements (referring to color only). The optical transition is connected with a “transition core” and therefore is influenced little by substitution on the aromatic rings. (b) We propose new analogues of ninhydrin with a significant potential such as thiono derivatives.
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