In criminal justice, one refers to fingerprint analysis when it comes to the collection of patent and latent prints of an individual. Namely, fingerprint analysis and selection shall be distinguished between the two above-mentioned types.
While referring to a collection of patent prints, the scientific method applies to photographing prints in high resolution and with the further application of forensic measurement scale of the image to get a reference. Besides, investigators are empowered to improve the quality of images by alternating lights of photography or dying photography, yet these methods are rather rarely applied in practice due to lack of necessitation.
A different scientific approach is taken while collecting latent prints. Namely, it is common in criminal justice to obtain latent fingerprints by dusting a given surface with the fingerprint powder (their colours vary). When fingerprints are being detected, they are photographed and lifted from the surface with the particular adhesive tape. In fact, such method meets some criticism among scholars and practitioners due to the possibility to ruin fingerprints by the limited application of the powder. Thus, investigators also tend to collect latent prints by applying cyanoacrylate (super glue) or using alternating light sources before the actual process of using powders.
Depending on given surfaces, chemical developers may also be used. Particularly, when an investigator works wit the porous surface, such as paper, chemicals are used to make fingerprints visible for investigators. Such chemicals as ninhydrin tend to react with the components of latent print residues and color the surface where the prints are located. In special cases, other scientific methods are applied, too. Namely, when fingerprints are to be detected on the surface of clothing, vacuum metal disposition is used. Also, AccuTrans, the liquid casting compound, is used when it comes to the necessity to lift prints from rough, textured or curved surface.
- Forensicsciencesimplified.org,. (2016). Fingerprint Analysis: How It’s Done. Retrieved 3 January 2016, from http://www.forensicsciencesimplified.org/prints/how.html