Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
AFIS Technology Moves From the Lab to ID Programs –
SECURE ID NEWS, VA -
Mar 31, 2005 ...though it
doesn’t work exactly as it appears on TV, AFIS technology is very
real and it has impacts beyond law enforcement...
Car Theft Gang Steals Man's Finger
– AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
- Mar 31, 2005
...criminals chopped off the tip of a man's finger to
override a security feature that required his fingerprint to start
Fingerprints Questioned in Heist Trial –
NEWS CHANNEL, DE - Mar 29, 2005
...attorneys are hoping to raise
enough doubt about the accuracy of fingerprints to acquit bank
Lab Finds Elusive Fingerprints –
ALBUQUERQUE TRIBUNE, NM - Mar 28, 2005
...new technique sees fingerprints on
surfaces where they are virtually invisible using other
Last week, we looked at the use of gel lifters to lift latent prints from latex
gloves. This week we look at a press release from Los Alamos National
Laboratory regarding a new latent print visualization technique that could hold
new promise for non-destructive latent print recovery in the fingerprint
discipline. With a combination of this technique and DNA extraction, the
best of both worlds could be achieved using the same impression.
Researchers Develop Fingerprint Detection Technology
LOS ALAMOS, N.M., March 21, 2005 – University of California scientists working
at Los Alamos National Laboratory have developed a novel method for detecting
fingerprints based on the chemical elements present in fingerprint residue.
Known as micro-X-ray fluorescence, or MXRF, the technique has the potential to
help expand the use of fingerprinting as a forensic investigation tool.
University of California scientists working at Los Alamos National Laboratory
have developed a novel method for detecting fingerprints based on the chemical
elements present in fingerprint residue. (Image courtesy of Los Alamos National
In research presented last week at the 229th national meeting of the American
Chemical Society in San Diego, Calif., Los Alamos scientist Christopher Worley
describes the detection of fingerprints based on elemental composition using
micro-X-ray fluorescence showing how the salts, such as sodium chloride and
potassium chloride, excreted in sweat are sometimes present in detectable
quantities in human fingerprints.
MXRF actually detects the sodium, potassium and chlorine elements present in
those salts, as well as many other elements, if they are present. The elements
are detected as a function of their location on a surface, making it possible to
"see" a fingerprint where the salts have been deposited in the patterns of
fingerprints, the lines called friction ridges by forensic scientists.
The technique has several advantages over traditional fingerprint detection
methods that involve treating the suspect area with powders, liquids, or vapors
in order to add color to the fingerprint so that it can be easily seen and
photographed. Using this technique, known as contrast enhancement, it is
sometimes difficult to detect fingerprints present on certain substances, such
as multicolored backgrounds, fibrous papers and textiles, wood, leather,
plastic, adhesives and human skin. Children's fingerprints are particularly
difficult to detect due to the absence of sebum, an oily substance on the skin
that is secreted by the sebaceous glands, which captures the contrast enhancing
agents. Also, coloring a fingerprint with traditional contrast enhancement
methods can be an arduous process that sometimes yields only limited success.
Worley warns that MXRF is not a panacea for detecting all fingerprints, since
some fingerprints will not contain enough detectable elements to be "seen".
However, it is envisioned as a viable companion to the use of traditional
contrast enhancement techniques at crime scenes, since it does not require any
chemical treatment steps, which are not only time consuming, but can permanently
alter the evidence. Since MXRF is noninvasive, a fingerprint analyzed by the
method is left pristine for examination by other methods like DNA extraction.
In addition to Worley, the MXRF development team includes Sara S. Wiltshire,
Thomasin C. Miller, George J. Havrilla and Vahid Majidi.
I will try to post additional information and images if possible if I can track
them down. The article will appear soon in the Journal of Forensic
message board is always open: (http://www.clpex.com/phpBB/viewforum.php?f=2).
For more formal latent print discussions, visit
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