Chemical Latent Development

Guide to Selecting a Latent Fingerprint Development Method based on Surface Type

Surface Treatment Method
Smooth, non-porous: glass, hard plastic mouldings, surfaces treated with paint or varnish Powders, iodine, small particle reagent (SPR), cyanoacrylate/fluorescent dyes
Rough, non-porous: rough, textured surfaces, grained plastic mouldings  Small particle reagent (SPR), cyanoacrylate/fluorescent dyes
Paper & cardboard: paper & cardboard that hasn’t been waxed or plastic-coated. Iodine, ninhydrin, DFO, silver nitrate, or physical developer. Powders won’t work with older fingerprints
Plastic packaging media: Polyethylene, polypropylene, cellulose acetate, and laminated paper surfaces Iodine, small particle reagent (SPR), cyanoacrylate/fluorescent dyes, and powders
Soft vinyl (PVC), rubber and leather: simulated leather and cling film Use iodine, small particle reagent (SPR), cyanoacrylate and powders.
Untreated metal: untreated, bare metal surfaces; metal surfaces that haven’t been painted or lacquered. Small particle reagent (SPR), powders, cyanoacrylate / fluorescent dyes and powders
Unfinished wood: wood surfaces that haven’t been painted or treated. Ninhydrin. You can use powders on smooth wood and silver nitrate or physical developer on light woods.
Wax and waxed surfaces: items made of wax, such as candles, wax-coated paper, cardboard, wood surfaces Nonmetallic powders, cyanoacrylate / fluorescent dyes
Adhesive-coated surfaces: tapes and similar surfaces that are not likely to dissolve in water Adhesive-side powders
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