Dr Ruth Croxton is studying the components of fingermarks and what happens to the chemistry of the mark when it is laid down. She hopes that a deeper understanding of the chemical composition of marks may open the way to new and better enhancement methods.

She says: ‘There is a wide variation in the composition of fingermarks depending on things such as whether the hands had been recently washed or the face had been touched a lot’

‘What we want to do is improve methods for identifying the various components and also to look at other substances in the fingermark. Hopefully this will help us to understand how the various enhancement systems work at the molecular level.’

You can read more about Ruth’s research on the Royal Society of Chemistry’s website: http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/Issues/2012/March/another-brick-in-the-whorl.asp