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June 07, 2011

Police could use fingerprint technology to reopen cold cases

Scientists are using nanotechnology to develop ways to recover fingerprints from old evidence

By PoliceOne Staff

Scientists are using nanotechnology to develop ways to recover fingerprints from old evidence, says a BBC News article. Traditional techniques cannot detect dry and weak fingerprints, but the new technology developed in Australia will have the ability to reveal sharper detail.

The new process uses chemical treatments that target amino acids, which are found in sweat and thus present in most fingerprints. The technique has been used before, but it is the nanotechnology that is taking fingerprint detection to the next level.

Police officers may even be able to reopen cold cases. Using the research to employ better techniques to scour existing evidence could bring up new leads.

The project is a collaboration between police academies in Sydney and Canberra, the Australian Federal Police. Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois has also been contributing.

Dr. Xanthe Spindler, one of the project scientists, says that the new findings are "really going to push the boundaries."

Next on the research agenda is discovering a way to detect fingerprints on human skin.

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