Scientists have developed a new technique, which involves the use of laser beams that can capture even faint fingerprints left on the corpses of murder victims, thus helping in the identification of the killer.
According to a report in New Scientist, the method makes use of surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).
This involves firing a laser beam at a material, allowing its composition to be identified from the wavelengths of light scattered.
Spotting a fingerprint involves applying a solution containing silver nanoparticles to the skin. SERS is then used to image the silver, which sticks to skin secretions.
In the process, any fingerprints present are revealed.
SERS can also be used to image the distribution of a substance in a material.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, US, which developed the technique, is now trying to build a hand-held SERS scanner for use at crime scenes.