A comparison of multi-metal deposition processes utilising gold nanoparticles and an evaluation of their application to ‘low yield’ surfaces for finger mark development

C. Fairley, S. M. Bleay, V. G. Sears, N. NicDaeid

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29 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports a comparison of the effectiveness and practicality of using different multi-metal deposition processes for finger mark development. The work investigates whether modifications can be made to improve the performance of the existing process published by Schnetz. Secondly, we compare the ability of different multi-metal deposition processes to develop finger marks on a range of surfaces with that of other currently used development processes. All published multi-metal deposition processes utilise an initial stage of colloidal gold deposition followed by enhancement of the marks with using a physical developer. All possible combinations of colloidal gold and physical developer stages were tested. The method proposed by Schnetz was shown to be the most effective process, however a modification which reduced the pH of the enhancement solution was revealed to provide the best combination of effectiveness and practicality.

In trials comparing the modified formulation with vacuum metal deposition, superglue and powder suspensions on surfaces which typically give low finger mark yields (cling film, plasticised vinyl, leather and masking tape), the modified method produced significantly better results over existing processes for cling film and plasticised vinyl. The modified formulation was found to be ineffective on both masking tape and leather. It is recommended that further tests be carried out on the modified multi-metal deposition formulation to establish whether it could be introduced for operational work on cling film material in particular. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-18
Number of pages14
JournalForensic Science International
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 Apr 2012


  • multi-metal deposition
  • colloidal gold
  • single metal deposition
  • finger mark
  • cling film
  • leather

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