Breaking NEWz you can UzE...
compiled by Jon Stimac
Proof or Just a Matter of Opinion?
SUNDAY HERALD, UK - Nov 20, 2005
...head of Scottish Fingerprint Service
argues that ID from prints is ‘judgement’ rather than fact...
Fingerprints 'clue to bomb hoaxer'
– DAILY TELEGRAPH, AUSTRALIA
- Nov 16, 2005 ...a truck drivers
fingerprints were found on three of the four phone boxes....
Fingerprint Expert Testifies in Murder Trial
BRADENTON HERALD, FL -
Nov 15, 2005 ...no fingerprints? That
doesn't mean the victim wasn't in the vehicle, says expert...
Fingerprint System Aims to Prevent Jail Escapes
KANSAS.COM - Nov 15, 2005 ...when it is time for inmates to
be released, their prints are scanned and compared to the prints on
Recent CLPEX Posting Activity
containing new posts
Fingerprint Dogma Final Exam
Dogma (formerly Guest) 2085 Sun Nov 20, 2005 8:55 pm
Scottish Fingerprint Service
Iain McKie 18 Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:38 am
Kathy Saviers 384 Sat Nov 19, 2005 11:33 pm
Order of Processing Firearms
L.J.Steele 531 Sat Nov 19, 2005 2:57 am
JPEG v. WSQ Digitized Fingerprints
Michael Cherry 655 Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:20 pm
Is Dogma (formerly Guest) Micheal Cherry?
cchampod 293 Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:49 pm
(Complex Standards) Major Case Prints
C. Coppock 48 Fri Nov 18, 2005 4:59 pm
Neville Morris 218 Thu Nov 17, 2005 1:13 pm
AFIS Internet Conference
Tamie Burkart 90 Thu Nov 17, 2005 1:22 am
Clear Silicone Casting Materials
LPE 156 Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:14 pm
Trace metal detection test
RAE 45 Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:25 pm
Contextual information and identifications
Les Bush 233 Wed Nov 16, 2005 6:34 pm
Point Of View: Distortion vs Dissimilarities
Charles Parker 130 Wed Nov 16, 2005 4:07 pm
Yeti 110 Wed Nov 16, 2005 3:38 pm
Sworn or Civilian
psucsi 782 Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:27 am
g. 799 Tue Nov 15, 2005 3:10 am
kathyluvlife 157 Mon Nov 14, 2005 6:29 pm
UPDATES ON CLPEX.com
Updated the Detail Archives
Joe Polski brought us the IAI Update,
including good news on the results of the hard work of the CFSO.
We review an article from the journal
Spectroscopy, July 2005 regarding the use of X-ray fluorescence (MXRF) for
latent print detection.
End of the Spectrum
Revealing More than Meets the Eye Using MXRF
Researchers have developed a novel method that detects
fingerprints through the salts that are excreted in sweat. Scientists from the
University of California working at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL, Los
Alamos, NM) have developed, through the use of micro-X-ray fluorescence (MXRF),
a novel technique that detects fingerprints based upon the chemical elements —
salts excreted in sweat — mainly present in fingerprint residue.
The MXRF technique, which is based upon elemental composition, detects the
sodium, potassium, and chlorine elements in these salts, as well as many other
elements, if they are present. These elements are detected as a function of
their location on a surface, reportedly making it possible to see a fingerprint
where the salts have been deposited in the patterns of fingerprints — the lines
forensic scientists call friction ridges.
"It worked better than I would have guessed. I was afraid that the method's
detection limits, typically parts-per-million levels, combined with loss in
signal when restricting the X-ray beam to a small spot, would result in poor
signal to noise and prevent the detection of trace levels of inorganic residue
in fingerprints," explained Christopher Worley, a scientist at LANL, who ied the
project. "While this was true for some prints that were examined, others
appeared to contain enough residue to detect the print friction ridges." When
using the MXRF technique, a microfocused X-ray beam irradiates the sample, and
IMAGE COURTESY OF LANL X-rays are emitted from the irradiated spot.
The energies of the emitted X-rays correspond to the elements present in that
spot, and the number of X-ray photons emitted correlates with the amount of that
element present. Then, by moving the beam across the sample both horizontally
and vertically, a two-dimensional image for a given element is collected
depicting relative differences in concentration of that element dispersed across
the surface. According to Worley, the time to acquire an image depends upon the
amount of detectable material present in the fingerprint and the level of image
pixel resolution desired.
"For the majority of prints examined with the instrumentation in our labs, a
typical analysis time was 10 to 20 hours - depending on the sample," Worley
said. "The image was collected in an automated fashion, however, so this was
just the waiting time before an image was complete. With the development of an
instrument specifically designed to analyze elements commonly found in prints,
such as those in body salts, I can envision the acquisition time being reduced
to a few hours or less, perhaps much less with improvements in
According to Worley, MXRF offers some advantages over traditiona! fingerprint
techniques. First, MXRF does not require the application of powders, vapors, or
chemicals, and uses a low power X-ray source, so it is nondestructive and does
not alter the fingerprint. Because inorganic elements present in the print
residue are detected by MXRF, the presence of certain elements could provide
clues as to what an individual had been touching before leaving the fingerprint.
Also, salts left on a surface in the pattern of a fingerprint should remain on
the surface and detectable by MXRF indefinitely if left undisturbed. Finally,
prints on multicolored backgrounds potentially can be difficult to detect by
traditional methods, but the background color is irrelevant with MXRF.
Despite these advantages, however, Worley stresses that he does not envision
MXRF replacing those traditional fingerprint methods. "Dusting and chemical
treatments will always be important in fingerprint detection. Dusting, in
particular, is fast and easy to do at a crime scene," Worley said. "Traditional
methods also detect organic constituents in fingerprints, but MXRF cannot detect
the carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, and oxygen present in organic compounds. I see
MXRF complementing current methods rather than replacing them."
And while it may make its mark in forensics, in the future, MXRF also could be
used in two other important applications: homeland security and child-abduction
"Everyone has a unique fingerprint, and MXRF expands the ability to detect
fingerprints in certain situations over current techniques," Worley said. "So I
think this method could be useful in the detection of prints in
"Children's prints are typically difficult to detect by conventional means after
aging," he continued. "However, inorganic components found in saliva or certain
foods that might be present on a child's finger and left in a fingerprint
pattern should be detectable for much longer periods of time, perhaps for many
Associate Editor, Spectroscopy
Spectroscopy, July 2005 www.spectroscopyonline.com
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