The development of a water-soluble, non-toxic fluorescent spray by scientists has revolutionized forensic investigations by making fingerprints visible within seconds. This innovative solution not only enhances the safety of forensic procedures but also streamlines the process, making it easier and quicker to analyze fingerprints.

Traditionally, detecting latent fingerprints involved the use of toxic powders or environmentally damaging petrochemical solvents. These methods posed risks to DNA evidence and the environment. However, the newly developed dye spray offers a safe and sustainable alternative.

Scientists at the Shanghai Normal University and the University of Bath have created two distinct colored dyes, LFP-Yellow and LFP-Red, which selectively bind with the negatively-charged molecules present in fingerprints. These dyes, inspired by the Green Fluorescent Protein from jellyfish, emit a fluorescent glow under blue light, making fingerprints easily visible. Moreover, the dyes are biologically compatible and do not interfere with subsequent DNA analysis of the fingerprints.

The fine spray application of the fluorescent dye prevents damage to prints, is less messy than powder methods, and offers quick results even on rough surfaces like brick. According to Professor Tony James from the University of Bath, this system is not only safer and more sustainable than existing technologies, but it can also detect week-old fingerprints. Additionally, having two color options expands the spray’s applicability to different colored surfaces, with plans to introduce more colors in the future.

The fluorescent probes in the aqueous solution emit strong fluorescence upon binding to the fingerprints through interactions with fatty acids or amino acids. This unique mechanism allows for the rapid and accurate visualization of fingerprints, improving the efficiency of forensic investigations.

Professor Chusen Huang from Shanghai Normal University expressed hope that this technology would enhance evidence detection at crime scenes. The collaboration with companies to make the dyes commercially available indicates the potential impact of this innovative solution on forensic practices worldwide. Through continuous research and development, the fluorescent fingerprint spray is poised to transform forensic investigations, making them more effective and reliable in the future.

The development of the fluorescent fingerprint spray represents a significant advancement in forensic science, offering a safer, faster, and more sustainable method for detecting latent fingerprints. Its potential to revolutionize crime scene investigations underscores the importance of innovative solutions in advancing forensic practices.

Chemistry

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