In forensic science the finger marks left unintentionally by people at a crime scene are referred to as latent fingerprints. Most existing techniques to detect and lift latent fingerprints require application of a certain material directly onto the exhibit. The chemical and physical processing applied to the fingerprint potentially degrades or prevents further forensic testing on the same evidence sample. Many existing methods also have deleterious side effects. We introduce a method to detect and extract latent fingerprint images without applying any powder or chemicals on the object. Our method is based on the optical phenomena of polarization and specular reflection together with the physiology of fingerprint formation. The recovered image quality is comparable to existing methods. In some cases, such as the sticky side of tape, our method shows unique advantages.
© 2006 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: December 22, 2005
Manuscript Accepted: February 25, 2006
Vol. 1, Iss. 10 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics
Shih-Schön Lin, Konstantin M. Yemelyanov, Edward N. Pugh, Jr., and Nader Engheta, "Polarization-based and specular-reflection-based noncontact latent fingerprint imaging and lifting," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 23, 2137-2153 (2006)