London, Jan 31 (ANI): Scottish scientists have pioneered a new technique that could help solve more serious crimes and change the face of forensics forever.
For the first time, fingerprints can now be taken from soft surfaces like cloth as well as household fabrics such as curtains and couches, reports the Scotsman.
Until now, forensic officers could only take fingerprints from solid objects.
Police and other crime-fighting agencies are now looking at the new breakthrough, which massively expands their potential for finding vital clues.
Forensic experts at the Abertay University teamed up with the Scottish Police Services Authority (SPSA) in developing the groundbreaking technique.
A piece of fabric is put into a vacuum chamber and a fine layer of gold is spread over it. Zinc is then added which sticks to the gold but not where there are the ridges or remains of a fingerprint. The fabric then looks like a photographic negative where the fabric appears grey except for the fingerprint.
Researchers then used a machine, using vacuum metal deposition (VMD), to get prints from the fabric.
They found that fabrics with thread counts of more than three per millimetre, such as silk or nylon, were best for catching a full print.
Even if a full fingerprint is not left on a piece of clothing, an impression could help police piece together a timeline of events.
"This research is very exciting, showing a huge amount of progress in the development of the technique. By proving that fingerprinting from fabrics is possible, this should help future criminal investigations and the apprehension of perpetrators," said Professor David Bremner, forensic science research leader at the University of Abertay.
Scientists, however, cautioned that their work could not solve all cases.
But they said the technique could eventually be used in an average of one major case each week. (ANI)