Fingerprint analysis technique could be used to identify bombmakers

August 26, 2008

University of Leicester experts have held discussions with military personnel in Afghanistan following the discovery of new technology to identify fingerprints on metal.

Dr John Bond, a forensic research scientist at the University of Leicester and scientific support manager at Northamptonshire Police, has worked with a team from the University Department of Chemistry to develop the novel technique.

The state-of-the-art forensic method that can identify fingerprints on bullets could now be used on bombs. The new techniques can pick up fingerprints on metal even after they have been wiped off.

After the research was published earlier this year, Dr Bond has been approached by military personnel in Afghanistan to discuss potential use of the technique.

Dr Bond is investigating whether the technique can be used to find prints on roadside bombs. It would mean recovered fragments of bombs could be tested for prints put on it while it was manufactured.

Dr Bond said " We have developed a method that enables us to 'visualise fingerprints' even after the print itself has been removed. We conducted a study into the way fingerprints can corrode metal surfaces. The technique can enhance - after firing- a fingerprint that has been deposited on a small calibre metal cartridge case before it is fired.

"For the first time we can get prints from people who handled a cartridge before it was fired. Wiping it down, washing it in hot soapy water makes no difference - and the heat of the shot helps the process we use.

"The procedure works by applying an electric charge to a metal - say a gun or bullet - which has been coated in a fine conducting powder, similar to that used in photocopiers.

"Even if the fingerprint has been washed off, it leaves a slight corrosion on the metal and this attracts the powder when the charge is applied, so showing up a residual fingerprint.

"The technique works on everything from bullet casings to machine guns. Even if heat vaporises normal clues, police will be able to prove who handled a particular gun."

Dr Bond said they had found the method worked well on certain metals including brass which is often used for bullet casing.
-end-
For more information please contact:

Dr John W Bond
Scientific Support Manager, Protective Services Command, Northamptonshire Police, Wootton Hall, Northampton, NN4 0JQ
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Leicester, Forensic Research Centre, 106 New Walk, Leicester LE1 7EA
Telephone 08453 700700 Ext 2200
Facsimile 01604 703210
Email john.bond@northants.pnn.police.uk or jwb13@le.ac.uk

University of Leicester

Related Fingerprint Articles from Brightsurf:

Shared protein fingerprint could simplify treatment of common inherited heart disease
University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists discovered that many different genetic mutations result in surprisingly similar changes to heart muscle proteins in patients with the most severe manifestations of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Each human gut has a viral 'fingerprint'
Each person's gut virus composition is as unique as a fingerprint, according to the first study to assemble a comprehensive database of viral populations in the human digestive system.

Atomic fingerprint identifies emission sources of uranium
Depending on whether uranium is released by the civil nuclear industry or as fallout from nuclear weapon tests, the ratio of the two anthropogenic, i.e. man-made, uranium isotopes 233U and 236U varies.

Prostate cancer 'fingerprint' detected in blood sample
Scientists at UCL have invented a new test to identify the earliest genetic changes of prostate cancer in blood: a process which could allow doctors to see if cancers have spread, monitor tumor behavior and enable better treatment selection.

Experimental fingerprint test can distinguish between those who have taken or handled cocaine
An experimental fingerprint detection approach can identify traces of cocaine on human skin, even after someone has washed their hands -- and the test is also smart enough to tell whether an individual has actually consumed the class A drug, or simply handled it.

OU study finds the fingerprint of paddy rice in atmospheric methane concentration dynamics
A University of Oklahoma-led study shows that paddy rice (both area and plant growth) is significantly related to the spatial-temporal dynamics of atmospheric methane concentration in monsoon Asia, where 87% of paddy rice fields are situated in the world.

Fingerprint test can distinguish between those who have taken or handled heroin
A state-of-the-art fingerprint detection technology can identify traces of heroin on human skin, even after someone has washed their hands -- and it is also smart enough to tell whether an individual has used the drug or shaken hands with someone who has handled it.

A precise chemical fingerprint of the Amazon
This novel drone-based chemical monitoring system tracks the health of the Amazon in the face of global climate change and human-caused deforestation and burning.

Canadian astronomers determine Earth's fingerprint
Two McGill University astronomers have assembled a 'fingerprint' for Earth, which could be used to identify a planet beyond our Solar System capable of supporting life.

Fingerprint of sleep habits as warning sign for heart disease
Chronic short sleep is associated with increased risk of clogged arteries, heart disease, and thus increased morbidity and mortality.

Read More: Fingerprint News and Fingerprint Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.