Forensics Breakthrough: Lifting Fingerprints From Clothing

The pace of forensic science technology and research, as it applies to the legal and law enforcement fields, has gone in to complete overdrive.

Forensic Breakthrough: Lifting Fingerprints From Clothing

For the first time in more than three decades, researchers have broken through with successes in being able to lift prints from fabric.

By utilizing a technique known as vacuum metal deposition (VMD),  researches have been able to use gold and zinc to recover finger and hand marks from clothing. VMD is already used to detect fingerprint marks on smooth surfaces such as waxes, plastics and glass.

According to  Joanna Fraser, a forensic sciences researcher at the University of Abertay Dundee,  “The research uses fine layers of metals to display fingerprints people may have left on fabrics, something which is far harder to do with soft surfaces. The technique has been around since the 1970s and is used on many surface but was never widely used on fabrics.

“We take these fabrics, place them in a vacuum chamber, then heat up gold to evaporate it and spread a fine film over the fabric. We then heat up zinc, which attaches to the gold where there are no fingerprint residues. This helps reveal the fingerprint — where contact has been made we see the original fabric, where there was no contact we’re left with the grey colour of the metal film.” (Please read the full article in Science Daily.  The advances by these dedicated researchers is simply amazing.)

The possibilities of this technique applied to fabrics will become invaluable in criminal investigations.

BNI Operatives: Situationally aware/

As always, stay safe.

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