Nano Research

Article Title

NIR-induced highly sensitive detection of latent fingermarks by NaYF4:Yb,Er upconversion nanoparticles in a dry powder state


upconversion, nanoparticles, fingermark, development


The most commonly found fingermarks at crime scenes are latent and, thus, an efficient method for detecting latent fingermarks is very important. However, traditional developing techniques have drawbacks such as low detection sensitivity, high background interference, complicated operation, and high toxicity. To tackle this challenge, we employed fluorescent NaYF4:Yb,Er upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs), which can fluoresce visible light when excited by 980 nm human-safe near-infrared light, to stain the latent fingermarks on various substrate surfaces. The UCNPs were successfully used as a novel fluorescent label for the detection of latent fingermarks with high sensitivity, low background, high efficiency, and low toxicity on various substrates including non-infiltrating materials (glass, marble, aluminum alloy sheets, stainless steel sheets, aluminum foils, and plastic cards), semi-infiltrating materials (floor leathers, ceramic tiles, wood floor, and painted wood), and infiltrating materials such as various types of papers. This work shows that UCNPs are a versatile fluorescent label for the facile detection of fingermarks on virtually any material, enabling their practical applications in forensic sciences.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press