Chemical processes involved in the development of latent fingerprints using the cyanoacrylate fuming method have been studied. Two major types of latent prints have been investigated—clean and oily prints. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has been used as a tool for determining the morphology of the polymer developed separately on clean and oily prints after cyanoacrylate fuming. A correlation between the chemical composition of an aged latent fingerprint, prior to development, and the quality of a developed fingerprint has been observed in the morphology. The moisture in the print prior to fuming has been found to be more important than the moisture in the air during fuming for the development of a useful latent print. In addition, the amount of time required to develop a high quality latent print has been found to be within 2 min. The cyanoacrylate polymerization process is extremely rapid. When heat is used to accelerate the fuming process, typically a period of 2 min is required to develop the print. The optimum development time depends upon the concentration of cyanoacrylate vapors within the enclosure.
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