Tropolone-Based Treatments for Visualising Latent Fingermarks on Porous Surfaces

19 June 2019, Version 3
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The work describes a new chemical means of visualising latent fingerprints (fingermarks) using tropolone. Tropolone reacts with amino acids within the fingermark residue to form adducts that absorb UV radiation. These adducts provide useful contrast on highly-fluorescent prous surfaces will illuminated with UV radiation. The conjugated seven-membered ring of the tropolone adduct can be reacted further diazonium salts, which is demonstrated here with formation of two dyes. The methodology is extremely rapid, occurring in minutes with mild heating, and can be applied before ninhydrin in a chemical detection sequence.


fingermark enhancement
forensic science
dye substrates

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.