NIR-NIR Fingerprint Powder Reveals High Contrast Fingerprints on Previously Difficult Surfaces


Developed by researchers at Foster + Freeman, one of the foremost forensic science equipment suppliers in the world, fpNATURAL®2 is the first reported example of a NIR–NIR fluorescent dusting powder for the visualisation of latent fingerprints.

Unlike ‘regular’ fluorescent powders, fpNATURAL®2 is both illuminated and observed in the near-infrared region of the spectrum, suppressing colourful and/or patterned backgrounds to reveal high contrast prints with excellent ridge detail.

A finely milled blend of cuprorivaite (a blue mineral containing calcium, copper, oxygen and silicon), fpNATURAL®2 is applied to evidence with a standard dusting brush and illuminated with a high intensity NIR 780nm light source. While both the illumination and fluorescence emitted are invisible to the naked eye, fingermarks dusted with fpNATURAL®2 can be seen to fluoresce brightly against a dark suppressed background when viewed with an IR sensitive camera fitted with a NIR filter.

Developed exclusively by Foster+Freeman, the fpNATURAL® range of IR fluorescent powders has been created in response to the need to visualise and enhance fingerprints on a wide range of difficult surfaces including polymer banknotes – a particularly challenging substrate that has high potential as a source of fingerprints as evidence.

During recent months the company has been working, with the assistance of the Bank of England and the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology, to demonstrate fpNATURAL®2 and NIR-NIR fluorescence as a highly effective technique for revealing prints on the new range of UK polymer banknotes due to be released in the UK later this year.

A paper detailing fpNATURAL®2 and its potential to develop fingerprints at the crime scene and forensic laboratory was accepted for publication by Forensic Science International on the 16th March 2016 and is available to view online:

Revealing Fingerprints:

Application Examples

fpNATURAL®2 can be used to visualise fingerprints on a wide range of surfaces.

Select an evidence type from the list below to view examples:

Canadian Banknote - Polymer

Romanian Banknote - Polymer

Cigar Box - Glossy Card

Juice Box - Paperboard


Imaging fpNATURAL:

UV-Vis-IR Fingerprint Capture

A specialist NIR light source is required to induce fluorescence in fpNatural 2. The Crime-lite 82S NIR 780nm light source provides intense narrowband 'illumination' designed to excite NIR fluorescence and achieve the maximum background suppression.

Near-infrared fluorescence may only be observed and photographed by an imaging system equipped with an IR sensitive camera. 

Suitable imaging systems include the DCS 5 expert photographic workstation and the semi-automated Crime-lite Imager system.


Related Articles
fpNatural IR Fluorescent fingerprint powders
DCS 5 UV-Vis-IR Fingerprint imaging workstation
Crime-lite Imager Semi-automated fingerprint system
External Link: Forensic Science International