Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Murrell Godfrey

Second Advisor

James Cizdziel

Third Advisor

Nathan Hammer

Relational Format



When someone thinks of fingerprinting, they are most likely going to picture how a latent print is matched to the fingerprint of a suspect based on ridge pattern analysis. However, there is much more information that can be obtained from a latent print. The work performed in this thesis focuses the detection of exogenous and endogenous drugs in latent prints. The experiments performed analyzed fingerprints from volunteers that were contaminated with one of three common painkillers: acetaminophen, acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), and ibuprofen. Three different instruments were tested for this purpose: MALDI-MS, ATR-FTIR, and LC-MS. Based on the results gathered, it was determined that both MALDI-MS and LC-MS can accurately detect exogenous drug particles in latent prints. A quantitation study was also carried out using LC-MS which gave the following results: 1.224, 2.632, and 2.201 mg/mL of acetaminophen, 38.886, 35.579, and 40.534 mg/mL of ASA, and 136.054, 13.667, and 150.246 mg/mL of ibuprofen. ATR-FTIR was only able to produce two accurate results after many trials and thus it was concluded that this is not a valid instrument for this application. Based on current scientific technology and gaps in literature, it was determined that two instruments that should be investigated for the purpose of detecting endogenous drug particles in latent fingerprints include LC-MS/MS and DART-MS. DART-MS shows potential for this application since it is nondestructive, no sample preparation is necessary, and it can detect trace amounts of analyte. LC-MS/MS was chosen because it produces more detailed mass spectra compared to traditional LC-MS.

Accessibility Status

Searchable text

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.