Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemical Imaging: Potential New Crime Busting Tool

Date:
August 7, 2007
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
A new fingerprinting technique could potentially detect the diet, race and sex of a suspected criminal, according to new research. A strong trace of urea, a chemical found in urine, could indicate a male. Weak traces of urea in a chemical sample could indicate a female. Specific amino acids could potentially indicate whether the suspect was a vegetarian or meat-eater.

The rich blue and orange indicate different chemical residues found on this fingerprint.
Credit: Imperial College London

A new fingerprinting technique could potentially detect the diet, race and sex of a suspected criminal, according to new research published in the August edition of the journal Analytical Chemistry.

The team, led by Professor Sergei Kazarian from Imperial College London's Department of Chemical Engineering, has devised a technique which collects fingerprints along with their chemical residue and keeps them intact for future reference.

Chemical residues contain a few millionths of a gram of fluid and can be found on all fingerprints. Conventional fingerprinting techniques often distort or destroy vital chemical information with no easy way of lifting residues for chemical imaging, until now.

Imperial scientists found that the use of gel tapes, commercial gelatine based tape, provides a simple method for collection and transportation of prints for chemical imaging analysis.

The prints, once lifted, are analysed in a spectroscopic microscope. The sample is irradiated with infrared rays to identify individual molecules within the print to give a detailed chemical composition.

The information is then processed by an infrared array detector, originally developed by the U.S. military in smart missile technology. The array detector chemically maps the residue. This process builds up a picture, or chemical photograph, and allows for the most comprehensive information obtained from a fingerprint.

"The combined operational advantages and benefits for forensic scientists of tape lifting prints and spectroscopic imaging really maximises the amount of information one can obtain from fingerprints. Our trials show that this technique could play a significant role in the fight against crime," said Professor Kazarian.

In many cases, this information is enough to determine valuable clues about a person beyond the fingerprint itself. It could potentially identify traces of items people came in contact with, such as gunpowder, narcotics and biological or chemical weapons.

Chemical clues could also highlight specific traits in a person. A strong trace of urea, a chemical found in urine, could indicate a male. Weak traces of urea in a chemical sample could indicate a female. Specific amino acids could potentially indicate whether the suspect was a vegetarian or meat-eater.

Professor Kazarian believes that this technique could allow forensic scientists to observe how fingerprints change in time and within different environments.

"By focussing on what is left in a fingerprint after periods of time, scientists could potentially gauge how old a crime scene is. Studying what happens to prints, when they are exposed to high temperatures, could also be particularly significant, especially in arson cases where lifting prints has been notoriously hard," he said.

Speculating about the possible future benefits of this process, Professor Sergei Kazarian said: "In the courtroom of the near future, chemical images could feature as key evidence. I hope our work assists law enforcement authorities to bring dangerous criminals to justice."

Reference: "Spectroscopic Imaging of Latent Fingermarks collected with the aid of gelatine tape" Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 1 August 2007. Anal. Chem. 2007, 79, 5771 -- 5776.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Chemical Imaging: Potential New Crime Busting Tool." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070802103435.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2007, August 7). Chemical Imaging: Potential New Crime Busting Tool. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070802103435.htm
Imperial College London. "Chemical Imaging: Potential New Crime Busting Tool." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070802103435.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

German Researchers Crack Samsung's Fingerprint Scanner

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) German researchers have used a fake fingerprint made from glue to bypass the fingerprint security system on Samsung's new Galaxy S5 smartphone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

Porsche CEO Says Supercar Is Not Dead: Cue the Spyder 918

TheStreet (Apr. 16, 2014) The Porsche Spyder 918 proves that, in an automotive world obsessed with fuel efficiency, the supercar is not dead. Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen attributes the brand's consistent sales growth -- 21% in 2013 -- with an investment in new technology and expanded performance dynamics. The hybrid Spyder 918 has 887 horsepower and 944 lb-ft of torque, but it can run 18 miles on just an electric charge. The $845,000 vehicle is not a consumer-targeted vehicle but a brand statement. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Industry's Optimism Shines At New York Auto Show

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) After seeing auto sales grow last month, there's plenty for the industry to celebrate as it rolls out its newest designs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

Ford Mustang Fetes Its 50th Atop Empire State Building

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) Ford celebrated the 50th birthday of its beloved Mustang by displaying a new model of the convertible on top of the Empire State Building in New York. Duration: 00:28 Video provided by AFP
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:
from the past week

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