Development of enhancement reagents – VACANCY!

Latent fingerprints can (per definition) not be observed with the naked eye. Some kind of treatment by physical or chemical developers is needed to see and capture the finger depositions.

In this project we research new possibilities for the visualisation of latent fingerprints. Challenges here are lowering the impact at other forensic traces, such as DNA, toxicology and explosives.

Within this program we are looking for a PhD candidate. There is one position in the ITN CReaNet –

The ESR will be recruited with the following text.

The objective is to develop a CRN to achieve ultrasensitive analyte detection to be used on a subject under forensic investigation in real time and on-site or in vivo. An oxidase (enzyme) will be placed in the core of a microbead, which upon selective oxidation of the analyte generates a stoichiometric amount of hydrogen peroxide. In the second step, the peroxide will trigger a chemical amplification sequence of boronic phenol esters located in the shell of the bead, resulting in an exponential amplification of the peroxide. The peroxide will reach its target dye molecules at the outer surface of the gel beads to give the desired colour change. In other words, a reaction cascade from core to shell is responsible for the amplification. The main innovative features of this system are (i) the on-site sequestering of analytes by the microporous gel beads, (ii) the application of enzymes to achieve analyte selectivity, (iii) the immobilisation of the chemical amplification reaction in microbeads to ensure fast and spatially coordinated reactions and to facilitate colour detection by maintaining high local concentrations, and (iv) the spatial organisation of the chemical amplification system in compartmentalised beads to separate incompatible reactants. ESR1.1 will (i) fabricate the compartmentalised gel microbeads with the chemical amplification components, (ii) explore the relation between spatial organisation within the bead, amplification efficiency and sensitivity (secondment at TUD), (iii) develop numerical models for a quantitative description and analysis (secondment at USFD), and (iv) explore the boundary conditions for on-site trace detection in forensic (fingerprints, hazards) and biological samples.

Please send applications to and in CC to

Age estimation

Although the evidential value of a fingerprint is incredibly high, if the print was placed before a crime was commited, the evidential relevance is limited.

The use of chemical analytical methods for the estimation of the age of a fingerprint is the aim in this project.

Fingermarks @ activity level

Finding a latent fingermark is one thing, understanding how the mark got there is another. The focus in this project is on the  manner of touch and order of events that resulted in the fingermarks and other traces found on the pieces of evidence.


We are always looking for bright and enthusiastic students (BSc and MSc level) for a wide variety of projects. Please go to the contact page and leave your details and interests. Please contact me via the contact page for more information.

Chemical analysis

The composition of a latent fingermark if of crucial importance to the visualisation process. We define poor donors and good donors, merely by how well we think their latent prints develop. A thorough understanding of what actually is visualised is crucial for the development of novel reagents.

Secondly, we are looking at metabolites from the human system that provides us with information of the donor of the fingerprint.

In this project we develop new methodology for the chemical analysis of (latent) fingerprints in conjunction with enhancement reagents.