Using a Fluorescent Fingerprint Tag for Crime Scene Investigation

29 Jul, 2013 | SEM & Imaging - Guide
Using a Fluorescent Fingerprint Tag for Crime Scene Investigation

A ‘fluorescent tag’ is cutting-edge technology in crime-scene investigation. Because it creates images that are accurate to the nanoscale, this technology can help with the identification of fingerprints on items including knives, bullets and metal surfaces.

The search for ‘latent fingerprints’, the usually-invisible secreted sweat deposits and natural oils transmitted by touch on flat surfaces, takes up much crime scene investigation effort.

Epidermal ridges or friction ridges created the lines, swirls and whorls that are seen in latent fingerprints. Because the patterns of fingerprints are virtually unique to each individual, fingerprints provide an excellent way to determine who was present at a crime scene.

However, scientists from the University of Leicester say that only approximately 10% of latent fingerprint images that are taken from crime scenes are sufficiently complete to be used in court.

A film created from electroactive polymers (which are long and complex molecules that alter their shape in response to electric currents) has been developed by scientists for the purpose of imaging latent fingerprints.

Researchers claim that the electroactive properties of the polymers make it possible for the film to be applied using an electric current. The use of this current significantly reduces the likelihood of damage to the fingerprint before an accurate image can be captured.