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The Luminol Reaction

When sprayed over areas of suspected blood staining the luminol reacts with the peradoxidase activity of haemoglobin (a large constituent of blood). The luminol causes the blood to glow a blue/violet colour, this chemiluminescent emitter is a direct descendant of the oxidation of luminol by an oxidant in aqueous solution (perborate). As the fuel for the reaction luminol, the emitting species is 3-aminophthalate.

Expert Expertise

Neate Imaging has years of experience in the use of,  and interpretation of, evidence recovered with Luminol. We also have considerable expertise in the digital photography of low light luminescence.

Uses for Luminol

Luminol is an extremely sensitive chemical for the detection of:-


Small quantities of blood.


Blood that can not be viewed with the human eye.


Blood that is under a painted surface.


Blood that has been cleaned and scrubbed with household detergents

This blood can take the form of:-


Footwear impressions


Blood transfer patterns.


Blood patterns.


Naked footwear impressions.

Full DNA profiles can be found in blood recovered with Luminol.

PSDB Publication 26/2003 November 2003

“The department of health considers that there are no concerns regarding the mutagenicity profile of the chemical Luminol.........................

“So long as the use of luminol does not jeopardise the integrity of other forensic evidence, notably fingerprints, it may prove invaluable for the detection of blood in situations where no other techniques can be of use.”

To anyone thinking that a carpet cleaner or a sponge and soap will erase evidence of their crime, take note. This is one stain that cannot be "shouted out."


Click on the images to see additional luminol reactions.

pp5c904261.png The Luminol Reaction