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Monday, April 30, 2012
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Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
by Stephanie Potter

KVUE News 04-22-12

Police arrest man in burglary, sexual assault case

Fingerprints led police to the suspect, who was arrested last Saturday night. So far the unidentified man is charged with burglary, and not sexual assault.


Atlanta Journal-Constitution  04-24-12

Teens in jail after ‘easy' bank heist gone wrong

Investigators matched palm and fingerprints left at the bank to the two suspects, Finney said. After so many months, Finney said, the teens probably were “believing that they had gotten away with it.


STLToday.com 04-27-12

Jury considering physical evidence in killing of Washington Park mayor

A fingerprint analyst, Melissa Gamboe, testified that a print belonging to Jackson was found on the outside of the rear passenger door of the car in which the mayor died.


Herald-Tribune.com 04-26-12

Sheriff: Evidence links inmate to Sarasota woman's murder

"A murder of this type — how brutal it was — for it to be someone not in the system is unusual for us," Bell said. "Our best evidence was the latent fingerprints and shoe impressions recovered from the burglary and homicide scenes."

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 No major website updates this week


 No announcements either


 we looked at some new SWGFAST documents recently posted to the SWGFAST website.


 we look at a new chemical development technique out of China, recently featured in Forensic magazine.




Shining a light on fingerprint detection

05 April 2012


Scientists in China have discovered a method for visualising latent fingerprints found at the scene of a crime, which they say is very simple, rapid, does not require professional forensic treatment and does not destroy the print. 


Fingerprint under UV light
The fingerprints were enhanced by aggregation induced emission of tetraphenylethene

© iStockphoto
Bin Su and co-workers from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, noticed that the conjugated compound tetraphenylethene (TPE) adhered to the greasy ridges of fingerprints via a hydrophobic interaction. TPE is non-fluorescent in acetonitrile solution, but when light with a 365nm wavelength is shone onto the solution, the compound can lose the extra energy by rotating. However, when TPE sticks to the fingerprint, its molecules clump together (or aggregate). The aggregated molecules can no longer rotate, so instead, they release the energy as light. This phenomenon is known as aggregation induced emission (AIE) and has been used in sensors, but never as a means of detecting fingerprints.


The group stumbled on the result by accident. 'We were trying to enhance the visualisation of latent fingerprints by electrochemiluminescence,' says Su, 'and we found that the chemical procedure of aggregation induced emission was one of the methods for adsorbing TPE onto fingerprint ridges.'

Steven Bell, an expert in forensic research at Queen's University in Belfast, UK, is circumspect in his assessment of the protocol. 'The advantages over existing methods still need to be demonstrated,' he says. 'A side-by-side comparison against the standard superglue fuming method would be useful to establish the sensitivity.' This is a method in which superglue reacts with amino acids, fatty acids and proteins in latent fingerprints and moisture in the air to produce a white material along the ridges of the fingerprint, resulting in an image of the fingerprint.  

He adds that getting the fingerprints into the dye solution at the scene of a crime may not be easy. 'There may be practical difficulties in applying this method where the object bearing the marks is large - a car for example.' 

Although Su thinks that an AIE protocol is promising for future forensic applications, he does recognise some of its limitations. However, he thinks the protocol could at least have educational value. If appropriate compounds can be found with 'solubility in alcohol and emission in the visible range, the protocol might be suitable as a chemistry or forensic experiment for school students,' he says. 

Heather Montgomery


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