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Skin Scanner Recovers Fingerprints

By: Pearl - Published: May 20, 2008 • References: technology.newscientist
The latest tool for forensic scientists is a scanner that can detect extremely faint fingerprints on the bodies of murder victims. Usually fingerprint dusting is the method employed for getting prints off hard surfaces. This new technology, however, can recover prints from the skin of corpses.

The technique was developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, USA. They use a special type of imaging process called surfaced enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) which uses a laser beam focused on the material, and then the wavelengths of the light scattered are analysed.

It involves applying a solution of silver nanoparticles to the skin. The silver adheres to skin secretions left behind by possible murderers. The SERS technique is then used to pick up fingerprint patterns. A hand-held model for crime scene use is in the works.

I wonder how long it would be before CSI writers work it into their scripts?