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Synthesis of NIR-Responsive NaYF₄:Yb,Er Upconversion Fluorescent Nanoparticles Using an Optimized Solvothermal Method and Their Applications in Enhanced Development of Latent Fingerprints on Various Smooth Substrates

, : Synthesis of NIR-Responsive NaYF₄:Yb,Er Upconversion Fluorescent Nanoparticles Using an Optimized Solvothermal Method and Their Applications in Enhanced Development of Latent Fingerprints on Various Smooth Substrates. Langmuir 31(25): 7084-7090

Fingerprints at crime scenes are usually latent. The powder-dusting method is the most commonly used procedure for developing latent fingerprints in forensic science. However, the traditional powder-dusting method has characteristics of low sensitivity, low contrast, high background noise, and high autofluorescence interference. To overcome the drawbacks faced by the traditional method, we first optimized an oleic acid-based solvothermal approach for the synthesis of NaYF4:Yb,Er fluorescent upconversion nanoparticles (UCNPs) with the highest possible fluorescence intensity under near-infrared (NIR) irradiation. To optimize the synthesis, we studied the effects of the reaction time, reaction temperature, and volume of oleic acid on the size, phase composition, and UC fluorescence intensity of the UCNPs. We then used the resultant UCNPs to fluorescently label the fingerprints on various smooth substrates to improve the development of latent fingerprints because the UCNPs could undergo excitation under 980 nm NIR light to emit visible light. Latent fingerprints on three major types of smooth substrates were studied, including those with a single background color (transparent glass, white ceramic tiles, and black marbles), with multiple background colors (marbles with different complex surface patterns) and with strong background autofluorescence (note papers, Chinese paper money, and plastic plates). Compared with fingerprint development using traditional powders such as bronze powder, magnetic powder, and green fluorescent powder, our development procedure using UCNPs is facile and exhibits very high sensitivity, high contrast, low background interference, and low autofluorescence interference. This work shows that UCNPs synthesized under optimized conditions are a versatile fluorescent label for the facile development of fingerprints and can find their practical applications in forensic sciences.


PMID: 26089129

DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.5b01151

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