Posted: May 1, 2008

Forensic nanotechnology device detects latent prints on human skin

(Nanowerk News) Fingerprints that used to escape detection could soon help point to the killer. Using a field portable system being developed by ChemImage and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, investigators at crime scenes will be able to detect latent prints on human skin.
The system takes advantage of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)-based agents to visualize latent prints.
A team led by Linda Lewis of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division is working with ChemImage to identify fingerprint components that are SERS active, which involves identifying the fingerprint components that give a Raman emission when using a SERS reagent.
The ORNL team has identified a novel dielectric nanowire coated with silver as the SERS agent of choice. This material was developed at Naval Research Laboratory.
The ORNL team is now assisting Naval Research Laboratory with developing a batch processing method for producing highly active silver-coated nanowires to support a robust field method of chemically imaging latent fingerprints. ChemImage, based in Pittsburgh, has a diverse portfolio of chemical imaging technologies and envisions this technology being used by law enforcement agencies nationwide.
This project is funded by the National Institute of Justice.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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