Silent Witness Emerging in Forensic Science

A ground-breaking technique has emerged on recovering fingerprints off of fabrics.  This new technique has focused on revealing fingerprint ridge detail and comparisons from various fabrics – such as cotton, silk, nylon, and polyester.

This could mean new, verifiable clues with criminal investigations.  It could tell investigators if a victim was pushed or grabbed from a particular area of their clothing.  Fabric will become a silent witness to an investigation.

The technique used is called vacuum metal deposition (VMD) and it uses gold and zinc to recover a fingerprint mark.  VMD is a highly sensitive technique that is already used in identifying and recovering fingerprints from smooth surfaces as plastic and glass as early as the 1970s. 

According to forensic scientists and researchers, the fabric is placed in the vacuum chamber, gold is heated, and then the fine film is spread over the fabric.  The next step is to heat up the zinc, which attaches to the gold where there is no fingerprint residue.  This process will reveal where a fingerprint contact has been made on the fabric. 

This new forensic process used to establish fingerprints and impression evidence from various fabrics will not necessarily convict a criminal, but used alongside other evidence will present a stronger case.

 (Photo shown above: A 21 day sample on nylon demonstrating palmar flexon creases – University of Aberlay Dundee/Scottish Police Services Authority)

About jchasenovelist

Published thriller author, criminologist, and blogger.
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