Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Develop Fingerprint Detection Technology

Date:
March 23, 2005
Source:
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Summary:
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.
Credit: Image courtesy of Los Alamos National Laboratory

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.

Related Articles


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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Los Alamos National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Researchers Develop Fingerprint Detection Technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050322135157.htm>.
Los Alamos National Laboratory. (2005, March 23). Researchers Develop Fingerprint Detection Technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050322135157.htm
Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Researchers Develop Fingerprint Detection Technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050322135157.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins