How thick is a fingerprint?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Maybe this isn't the place the ask questions like this, but I thought I would give it a shot.

Do any of you know how thick a latent human fingerprint is? Or what the chemical compostion (preferably by percent) a fingerprint is?

I have been all over the web looking for these answers, and I'm starting to doubt my googling ability. There is a lot of information about fingerprinting and biometrics, and ridge thickness. But nothing about the thickness of the material that is actually left on a surface to create a fingerprint. So in a last desparate attempt at an answer I'm asking all of you, in the hope that one of you is an expert about this, or at least a better googler than I am.

PS-These questions are bonus questions in a lab write-up for a micro/nano-fabrication course I am taking.

Thanks in advance.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    That's sort of like asking how thick a human hair is.

    While they all fall within a certain range, some are thicker than others. I suspect it is so with fingerprints. If you look at your own fingers, you'll notice some lines are thicker and maybe even taller than others, and of course the medium you leave the print on (and any substances on your skin) have something to do with it also. So the "chemical composition" is always going to be different depending on your work environment, what you eat, etc.

    Further, a print left on a piece of moist clay isn't going to yield the same geometric answer as a print made with paper and ink. I don't think...

    Maybe call your local PD and see if you can get a forensic geek on the phone. They may be flattered you're calling them / might point you in a good direction for research materials.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    Of course they'll also forward your name to the FBI, CIA, TSA etc.... anyone looking for this kind of info must be a potential terrorist
  • Reply 3 of 3
    moogsmoogs Posts: 4,296member
    A small price to pay for an "A" research paper!

    Why, it might be so good that the feds confiscate the report and classify it, like that dude who did a thesis (I think) on the density of fiber-optic networks across the continental US. He even made a "topo-map" and other visuals. The government -- according to Wired -- wants to keep anyone else from seeing it (including the guy who wrote it) ever again. I feel so safe at night now that the Pusher Robot has assumed control of the thesis....

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