Australian scientists have created a new CSI technique for fingerprints

CSIRO has come up with a new way to gather fingerprint evidence. Image: CSIRO

Dusting for prints at a crime scene can be hit and miss and depends on the quality and recency of fingerprints.

However, Australian scientists have now developed a method which involves adding a liquid to prints and then using a UV light. The invisible fingerprints then glow, making it easier to take high quality digital images at the crime scene.

Dr Kang Liang, a CSIRO materials scientist, says the the technique can be used for more challenging evidence where conventional dusting doesn’t work as well.

“When my house was broken into I saw how common practice fingerprinting is for police,” Dr Liang says.

“Knowing that dusting has been around for a long time, I was inspired to see how new innovative materials could be applied to create even better results.”

Here he explains the technique:

Sometimes in complex cases evidence needs to be sent off to a laboratory for heat and vacuum treatment to enhance the print.

“Our method reduces these steps, and because it’s done on the spot, a digital device could be used at the scene to capture images of the glowing prints to run through the database in real time,” he says.

The research is published in the journal Advanced Materials.

CSIRO tested the technique, which uses crystals in a liquid, on window and wine glass, metal blades and plastic light switches.

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