Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2022

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Wayne Gray

Second Advisor

Jason Ritchie

Third Advisor

Robert Doctor

Relational Format



Fingerprinting has proved a useful mode of identification for thousands of years. Following numerous technological advancements, it has become a technique for categorizing and keeping track of people over large geographical spaces for almost half of a century. Those living in the beginnings of fingerprinting used them as a form of signature as it was something completely unique to each individual that could not be replicated. Although they are no longer used as the primary form of signature, it certainly remains a biomarker of identity. Over the past century the practice has been heavily refined in order to identify people from a wide variety of geographical areas with a centralized database referred to as AFIS. However, taking into account these improvements in technology, the invention of photography and a relatively newfound ability to preserve and relocate latent fingerprints, there must be more information that these accidental or intentional clues can provide in forensic or clinical settings. In this thesis paper, we look to expand the uses of latent fingerprints by determining whether exogenous drug metabolites can be detected from latent fingerprint samples. Our reasoning is that when a person has illicit or medicinal substances in their bloodstream, metabolites of these substances will be excreted during perspiration, which would then be left behind on any surface following physical contact. The proposed instrumentation to carry out this experiment include GC-MS, ESI-MS, and DART. Each of these methods use a different pathway of processing to analyze the makeup of an extremely small sample. We found these methods desirable due to the sample size they can accommodate, which provides a realistic standard for evidence collection in a forensic setting. We also believe that two or more of these methods may be used in tandem in order to extract any and all evidence from the sample.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
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