November 19, 2012 -
A student-faculty team of scientists at Delhi University’s SGTB Khalsa College have come up with a versatile technique for developing fingerprints, even in cases where prints have been either deliberately or naturally destroyed, The Times of India reports.
This project, named “fluorescent powder compositions for developing latent fingerprints,” comes out of Khalsa College’s forensic science department, and claims to have come up with a composition that’s not surface-specific and can be used on a broad spectrum of objects.
The fluourescent powder works on surfaces immersed in water and effectively recovers fingerprints if the surface is recovered within 36 hours of being immersed. Likewise, the powder composition works on materials buried in snow if recovered within 12 hours.
“[This] is a highly cost-effective measure and a novel discovery by the team,” Malashri Lal, dean academic activities and projects at the University said. “Now, it has to be taken to the next stage, which is being acknowledged in the public domain.”
Currently, students have been visiting crime scenes along with the Delhi Police’s mobile lab team to test the substance in real-world scenario scenarios. This project is slated for completion in May 2013.
In 2011, researchers worked to determine the potential for recovering latent prints from handguns that had been submerged in water, with varying results, depending on the length of time submerged, type and temperature of water, Evidence Technology Magazine reported. This study was conducted to provide guidance for the FBI’s Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team.
Interestingly, the results of this study from 2011 indicated that latent fingerprints were more easily discovered in cold water trials, whereas the Khalsa findings suggest that prints are more difficult to produce after they’ve been in cold snow, as opposed to being submerged in water.