Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists are using a new technique to see fingerprints on surfaces that typically make them invisible. The technology focuses a tight beam of X-rays on surfaces with fingerprints and creates a computer picture out of those scans.

  The conventional methods are meant to bring out fingerprint patterns with regular light and they have to treat those with powder, which alters them. The new method uses a technology called mini-X-ray fluorescence to detect chemical elements in fingerprints without altering them. 

  For big labs, the method could be a great way to bring out prints that can’t be seen any other way, said Vahid Majidi, a lab scientist.

  "The technique fills a unique niche," Majidi said. "These are prints that would otherwise be useless. If you have prints on a dark surface, for example, they really don’t develop well using normal techniques. If you have prints from an adolescent or child, the chemicals in the fingertips are different and don’t stick around long enough for traditional methods."

  "This is a new approach to fingerprint visualization," Havrilla said. "We’re lifting prints, but instead of looking at the finger’s natural oils and organic residues we’re looking at elemental features left behind."

  What’s new is the method the lab has created to see them which includes computer software and ways of manipulating the machinery, Worley said. But the technique isn’t for everyone.

  "We’ve already had some negative comments on it," Havrilla said with a laugh. "One reviewer told us it’s just not practical. But the goal of our work was to demonstrate that it was feasible to see these things."

  美国洛斯阿拉莫斯国家实验室的科学家们采用了一种新技术,可以观察到原本很难在物体表面上看见的指纹。 这项技术将一束密集的X光对准留有指纹的物体表面,并根据扫描结果创建出计算机图像。