UK fingerprint 'developer' can read a letter from its envelope

Nov 10, 2008
UK fingerprint 'developer' can read a letter from its envelope

(PhysOrg.com) -- UK scientists have discovered a fingerprint'“developer' which can highlight invisible prints on almost any surface – and read the text of a letter just from the envelope it was sent in.

Paul Kelly and colleagues at Loughborough University found that a disulfur dinitride (S2N2) polymer turned exposed fingerprints brown, as the polymer reaction was initiated from the near-undetectable remaining residues.

Traces of inkjet printer ink can also initiate the polymer. The detection limit is so low that details of a printed letter previously in an envelope could be read off the inside of the envelope after being exposed to S2N2.

“A one-covers-all versatile system like this has obvious potential,” says Kelly.

“This work has demonstrated that it is possible to obtain fingerprints from surfaces that hitherto have been considered extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain,” says Colin Lewis, scientific advisor at the UK Ministry of Defence. “The method proposed has shown that this system could well provide capabilities which could significantly enhance the tools available to forensic scientists in the future.”

Original article: Paul F. Kelly, Chem. Commun., 2008, DOI: 10.1039/b815742a

Provided by Royal Society of Chemistry

Explore further: Devices designed to identify pathogens in food

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Why Americans can't buy some of the best sunscreens

11 hours ago

With summer nearly here, U.S. consumers might think they have an abundance of sunscreen products to choose from. But across the Atlantic, Europeans will be slathering on formulations that manufacturers say provide better ...

Expanding the code of life with new 'letters'

11 hours ago

The DNA encoding all life on Earth is made of four building blocks called nucleotides, commonly known as "letters," that line up in pairs and twist into a double helix. Now, two groups of scientists are reporting ...

'Cold soak' process turns up the heat on wines

12 hours ago

Those pondering which elements make the best drop of wine may be surprised to learn different climates produce mixed results when it comes to wines made using the 'cold soak' process.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.