Events Calendar
Jun 21
14:00 - 15:00
Prof. Simon Lewis (School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University, Perth): Exploring the physical and chemical properties of latent fingermarks using advanced analytical techniques

Exploring the physical and chemical properties of latent fingermarks using advanced analytical techniquesLatent fingermarks remain an extremely important form of contact evidence in criminal investigations, allowing the establishment of links between the scene, victims and the perpetrators. A key element in the successful recovery of latent fingermarks is detection which is an essential task for law enforcement when investigating crimes. Detection relies heavily upon the chemistry of the latent finger mark residue and of the substrate upon which the mark is deposited. Understanding the chemical composition and distribution within latent fingermarks may provide explanation for the variation in reproducibility or robustness of latent fingermark detection with existing methods and identify new strategies to increase detection capabilities. This presentation gives an overview of our on-going investigations into the properties of latent fingermark residue and their variation as a function of donor and time (1-5). In particular I will describe our recent studies utilizing a variety of advanced approaches, including atomic force microscopy, synchrotron sourced FTIR microscopy, confocal Raman microscopy and synchrotron sourced X-ray fluorescence microscopy, to examine the spatial distribution of chemical species within latent fingermarks. The potential of a multimodal approach using synchrotron sourced XFM in combination with FTIR imaging to reveal co-localisation of inorganic and organic components of latent fingermark residue will be demonstrated. Fritz, P., W. van Bronswjik, K. Lepkova, S. W. Lewis, K. F. Lim, D. E. Martin, and L. Puskar. 2013. "Infrared microscopy studies of the chemical composition of latent fingermark residues." Microchemical Journal 111: 40-46.Frick, A., G. Chidlow, S. Lewis, and W. Van Bronswijk. 2015. "Investigations into the initial composition of latent fingermark lipids by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry." Forensic Science International 254: 133-147.Dorakumbura, B. N., T. Becker, and S. W. Lewis. 2016. "Nanomechanical mapping of latent fingermarks: A preliminary investigation into the changes in surface interactions and topography over time." Forensic Science International 267: 16-24.Frick, A., G. Chidlow, J. V. Goodpaster, S. Lewis, and W. van Bronswijk. 2016. "Monitoring compositional changes of the lipid fraction of fingermark residues deposited on paper during storage." Forensic Chemistry 2: 29-36.Dorakumbura, B. N., R. E. Boseley, T. Becker, D. E. Martin, A. Richter, M. J. Tobin, W. Van Bronswjik, J. Vongsvivut, M. J. Hackett, and S. W. Lewis. 2018. "Revealing the spatial distribution of chemical species within latent fingermarks using vibrational spectroscopy." Analyst 143 (17): 4027-4039. Biographical details:Simon Lewis is Professor of Forensic and Analytical Chemistry in the School of Molecular and Life Sciences at Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, where he leads the Forensic and Analytical Chemistry Research Group within the Curtin Institute for Functional Molecules and Interfaces. He obtained his PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Plymouth, UK before taking up a position as a lecturer at Deakin University, Geelong, Australia (1994-2005) where he was involved in developing and coordinating the undergraduate forensic science program.  His research is focused on chemical techniques applied to forensic analysis, particularly in relation to chemical trace evidence and latent fingermarks. He has published in excess of 120 peer reviewed papers and book chapters in the areas of analytical and forensic chemistry. He is on the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Forensic Identification, Forensic Chemistry, the Elsevier Encyclopedia of Forensic Sciences (2nd Edition) and the new journal Forensic Science International: Synergy. Prof Lewis served on the Program Advisory Committee for the Infrared Beamline at the Australian Synchrotron 2012-2014 and is currently on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Australian Synchrotron. His activities in forensic science and chemistry education have been recognised by a number of awards at the university and national level including in 2009 an Australian Learning & Teaching Council Award for Teaching Excellence in the category of Physical Sciences and Related Studies. He is currently the President of the Western Australian Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Science Society.


Ingram Lecture Theatre
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Contact: Helena Shepherd
School of Physical Sciences


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Last Updated: 10/01/2012