Solid-state acquisition of fingermark topology using dense columnar thin films

Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Robert C. Shaler, Raúl J. Martín-Palma, Michael A. Motyka, Drew P. Pulsifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Various vacuum techniques are employed to develop fingermarks on evidentiary items. In this work, a vacuum was used to deposit columnar thin films (CTFs) on untreated, cyanoacrylate-fumed or dusted fingermarks on a limited selection of nonporous surfaces (microscope glass slides and evidence tape). CTF deposition was not attempted on fingermarks deposited on porous surfaces. The fingermarks were placed in a vacuum chamber with the fingermark side facing an evaporating source boat containing either chalcogenide glass or MgF2. Thermal evaporation of chalcogenide glass or MgF2 under a 1 μTorr vacuum for 30min formed dense CTFs on fingermark ridges, capturing the topographical features. The results show that it is possible to capture fingermark topology using CTFs on selected untreated, vacuumed cyanoacrylate-fumed or black powder-dusted nonporous surfaces. Additionally, the results suggested this might be a mechanism to help elucidate the sequence of deposition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-616
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Solid-state acquisition of fingermark topology using dense columnar thin films'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this