Scientists have developed a technique for retrieving fingerprints from fired bullets
A scientist has fabricated a new technique to ‘see’ fingerprints erased from fired bullets. Alex Goddard of University of Leicester has developed a technique that involves studying the chemical and physical interactions occurring between the metal and the fingerprint sweat deposit — which have been overlooked until now.
“Once a finger has touched the metal surface, a residue remains behind; this starts to react with the metal and an image of the fingerprint can be developed by use of elevated temperature and humidity, with the resultant image becoming a permanent feature on the surface of the metal,” Goddard explained.
“Currently, fingerprint recovery from bullets is very low; less than one percent. This uses a natural process and even if it only leads to a small increase in success rate, then that would be significant,” he added.
Using advanced surface imaging techniques, such as an atomic force microscope, nanoscale observations of finger printed brass samples can identify optimum conditions to promote the natural enhancement of the fingerprint, vastly improving their recovery rate.
It has also been proven that components of the sweat deposit survive washing and wiping of the surface, said a University of Leicester release.