Centre of Applied Research Technology

Specific fluorescent signatures for body fluid identification using fluorescence spectroscopy


Non-invasive, rapid, on-site detection and identification of body fluids is highly desired in forensic investigations. The use of fluorescence-based methods for body fluid identification, have so far remain relatively unexplored.

As such, the fluorescent properties of semen, serum, urine, saliva and fingermarks over time were investigated, by means of fluorescence spectroscopy, to identify specific fluorescent signatures for body fluid identification. The samples were excited at 81 different excitation wavelengths ranging from 200 to 600 nm and for each excitation wavelength the emission was recorded between 220 and 700 nm. Subsequently, the total emitted fluorescence intensities of specific fluorescent signatures in the UV–visible range were summed and principal component analysis was performed to cluster the body fluids. Three combinations of four principal components allowed specific clustering of the body fluids, except for fingermarks. Blind testing showed that 71.4% of the unknown samples could be correctly identified. This pilot study shows that the fluorescent behavior of ageing body fluids can be used as a new non-invasive tool for body fluid identification, which can improve the current guidelines for the detection of body fluids in forensic practice and provide the robustness of methods that rely on fluorescence.

Reference Achetib, N., Falkena, K., Swayambhu, M., Aalders, M. C. G., & van Dam, A. (2023). Specific fluorescent signatures for body fluid identification using fluorescence spectroscopy. Scientific Reports, 13, Article 3195. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-30241-7
Published by  Centre for Applied Research Technology 23 February 2023

Publication date

Feb 2023


Nihad Achetib
Kim Falkena
Meghna Swayambhu
Maurice C. G. Aalders


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