Latent fingerprints analysis using tape-lift, Raman microscopy, and multivariate data analysis methods

Analyst. 2009 Apr;134(4):769-75. doi: 10.1039/b808259f. Epub 2008 Dec 24.


This paper describes the use of combined techniques, i.e. Raman spectral mapping, tape-lift, and multivariate data analysis, to extract chemical information of latent fingerprint and/or trace amounts of materials deposited in fingerprints. The tape-lift method was employed to lift trace particles, extrinsic materials, or sebum deposited on the finger of an individual after recent handling of such materials. The analysis of the tape-lifted materials was performed by Raman spectral mapping at a specific area. The collected mixture Raman spectra containing signals from lifting media and lifted materials was then deconvoluted using a powerful multivariate technique, namely band-target entropy minimization (BTEM). Three cases, i.e. a sebum-rich fingerprint after touching the forehead, a drug model comprising ibuprofen, L-arginine, and sodium bicarbonate, and an additive model comprising sucrose and aspartame were investigated. BTEM could recover all pure component spectra of both lifting media and tape-lifted materials. As such, all these test substances can be correctly identified using their unique pure Raman spectral signatures. In addition, the spatial distributions of all these identified components could also be determined. These combined three techniques hold promise as a new tool in forensic applications.

MeSH terms

  • Dermatoglyphics*
  • Forensic Sciences / methods
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Pharmaceutical Preparations / analysis*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman


  • Pharmaceutical Preparations