London: Lifting fingerprints off fabrics may now be possible for crime investigators -- thanks to a path-breaking research.
A technique known as vacuum metal deposition (VMD) relying on gold and zinc to recover fingerprints from fabrics, is being examined by researchers from Scotland`s University of Abertay, Dundee, and the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA).
VMD is a highly sensitive technique already used in detecting fingerprint marks on smooth surfaces such as carrier bags, plastics and glass, according to an Abertay statement.
Joanna Fraser, forensic researcher at Abertay, said: "The research uses fine layers of metals to display fingerprints people may have left on fabrics, something which is far harder to do with soft surfaces."
Paul Deacon, fingerprint unit manager at the SPSA and a project expert, said: "Such an impression could help the police piece together a timeline of events and could be used to provide evidence in cases where someone was pushed, or grabbed..."
"For example, an impression of a palm print on the back of someone`s shirt might indicate he was pushed off a balcony, rather than jumping," Deacon said.
"Fingerprints left on fabrics and other surfaces can leave DNA traces, so it can also help forensic scientists to visualise the best area to target on an item of clothing to recover DNA evidence."
First Published: Thursday, February 03, 2011, 18:54