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Next-generation latent fingermark detection using functional nanomaterials

Funding: 2016: $50,000
2017: $120,000
2018: $140,000
2019: $70,000

Project Member(s): Roux, C., McDonagh, A., Spindler, X.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Rofin Australia Pty Ltd
Victoria Police (Victoria Police Partnership Fund)
Australian Research Council (ARC Linkage Projects)
Western Sydney University (University of Western Sydney)
Australian Federal Police

Start year: 2016

Summary: Interference from substrate chemistries and background luminescence is a major drawback of current fingermark detection methods. This project will address this issue through the development and validation of silicon oxide nanoparticles that have versatile surface modification abilities enabling the precise targeting of the fingermark secretion components. Their optical properties can also be tuned to meet optical requirements by introducing a luminescent dye in their inner structure. Moving away from traditional detection methods will deliver transformational outcomes for law enforcement as detection limits will be significantly improved and fingermarks that remain undetected with current techniques will be visualised for the first time. IMPACT STATEMENT Although fingerprints are a mainstay of the criminal justice system, only half of the fingermarks present on an object are detected by current methods. Many criminals remain unidentified with current techniques. This challenge will be addressed through the project's outcomes that will deliver novel fingermark detection and enhancement methods based on silicon oxide nanoparticles. This will assist law enforcement agencies to provide a safer society through improved crime clearance.


Kanodarwala, FK, Moret, S, Spindler, X, Lennard, C & Roux, C 2019, 'Nanoparticles used for fingermark detection—A comprehensive review', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Forensic Science, vol. 1, no. 5.
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Lee, PLT, Kanodarwala, FK, Lennard, C, Spindler, X, Spikmans, V, Roux, C & Moret, S 2019, 'Latent fingermark detection using functionalised silicon oxide nanoparticles: Method optimisation and evaluation.', Forensic science international, vol. 298, pp. 372-383.
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Steiner, R, Roux, C & Moret, S 2019, 'Controlling fingermark variability for research purposes: A review', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Forensic Science, vol. 1, pp. e1338-e1338.
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Moret, S, Lee, PL, Spindler, X, Lennard, C & Roux, C 2017, 'LUMINESCENT SILICON OXIDE NANOPARTICLES FOR FINGERMARK DETECTION', FORENSIC SCIENCE INTERNATIONAL, 21st Triennial Meeting of the International-Association-of-Forensic-Sciences (IAFS), ELSEVIER IRELAND LTD, Toronto, CANADA, pp. 232-232.

FOR Codes: Forensic Chemistry, Law Enforcement, Criminal Justice