Initial Results on the Composition of Fingerprints and its Evolution as a Function
of Time by GC/MS Analysis


Additional information—reprints not available from author:
Céline Weyermann, Ph.D.
Institut de Police Scientifique
Université de Lausanne
Bâtiment Batochime
CH-1015 Lausanne


Abstract:  Determining the time since deposition of fingermarks may prove necessary to assess their relevance to criminal investigations. The crucial factor is the initial composition of fingermarks, because it represents the starting point of any aging model. This study mainly aimed to characterize the initial composition of fingerprints, which show a high variability between donors (inter-variability), but also to investigate the variations among fingerprints from the same donor (intra-variability). Solutions to reduce this initial variability using squalene and cholesterol as target compounds are proposed and should be further investigated. The influence of substrates was also evaluated, and the initial composition was observed to be larger on porous surface than nonporous surfaces. Preliminary aging of fingerprints over 30 days was finally studied on a porous and a nonporous substrate to evaluate the potential for dating of fingermarks. Squalene was observed to decrease in a faster rate on a nonporous substrate.