From an examination of the fingerprint sweat corrosion of 40 different individuals on α phase brass, we show that an increase in visualization can be achieved by applying a negative potential to the brass followed by the introduction of a conducting powder. Previously, this technique has been demonstrated only for a positive applied potential and a corrosion product that was dominated by p-type copper (I) oxide. X-ray photoelectron and Auger electron spectroscopic analyses of the surface of the corroded brass show that an increase in visualization with a negative applied potential corresponds with an increase in the concentration of n-type zinc oxide relative to p-type copper (I) oxide with the Cu:Zn ratio <0.8:1. Work function conditions for the formation of an n-type zinc oxide/brass rectifying Schottky barrier are fulfilled.
Scientific Support Department, Northamptonshire Police, Wootton Hall, Northampton NN4 0JQ, UK. john.bond [at] northants.police.uk
J Forensic Sci. 2011 Jul;56(4):999-1002
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