Fingerprint identification is one of the most common and often used forensic tools worldwide. It has been used globally by government agencies for the past 100 years, outperforming DNA and all other systems combined to identify and catch criminals. Even so, there are limitations motivating scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in NM to develop a unique new method using micro x-ray fluorescence (MXRF). When used in conjunction with conventional methods of detection, it has a potential to help expand the use of fingerprinting as a forensic investigation tool. My report provides an overview of fingerprint identification history and techniques, in clear, easy to understand layman's terms.
[...] My research into micro-x-ray fluorescence (MXRF) technology will assess advantages and disadvantages, and make a general determination whether it has the potential to have any impact on the above stated concerns. To better understand the purpose and capabilities of MXRF, in conjunction with fingerprint identification, in the following section, I will discuss the history and provide a general overview of fingerprinting. Look closely at your fingers and you will see very fine lines that curve, circle and arch. The lines have narrow valleys known as groves, and hills known as friction ridges. [...]
[...] Christopher Worley, the lead scientist responsible for the research on micro-x-ray fluorescence used in fingerprint identification. If anyone could offer me the information I was seeking, he was the one. Discouraged, as I did not get a response right away, my patience paid off as he did finally reply and provide me with some very valuable information. Results As stated earlier, in order to discuss the fingerprint detection method developed by scientists, known as micro-x-ray fluorescence (MXRF), I first must explain current methods for lifting and processing latent fingerprints. [...]
[...] Latent print chance or accidental impression left by friction ridge skin on surface regardless of whether it is visible or invisible at time of deposition. Ninhydrin (triketohydrindene hydrate) staple of law enforcement investigators, used for years to reveal latent prints. Object with print is dipped or sprayed with a ninhydrin solution. Reaction between ninhydrin and oils of print appear as a purple-blue print. Patent print friction ridge impressions of unknown origin which are obvious to human eye, caused by a transfer of foreign material on the finger, onto a surface. [...]
[...] If all goes well, Worley and his associates anticipate it could be available for use in fingerprint detection sometime within this decade. He said, “This process represents a valuable new tool for forensic investigators that could allow them to nondestructively detect prints on surfaces that might otherwise be undetected by conventional methods. It won't replace traditional fingerprinting , but could provide a valuable complement to Television sure has forced the subject of forensic science down our throats today. I will share only one small statistic I learned from my survey, as it still shocks me. [...]
[...] Micro-x-ray fluorescence (MXRF) is a procedure that employs spectroscopy, shown in figure and while spectroscopic technology, in general, isn't new, this work was unique, as it appeared to be the only known study concerning the actual detection of fingerprints using MXRF. (Worley et al, 2006) Figure 4 - Basic components of EDAX Eagle II XPL model, which is an example of a Micro x-ray fluorescence system, and one of the two actual instruments used for the Los Alamos Lab study. [...]
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