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Sensitive site exploitation through trace chemical analysis of latent fingerprints (SETCAF)

Award Information

Award #
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Congressional District
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Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $517,442)

George Mason University (GMU) and BAE Systems, Inc. (BAE) propose to evaluate a potential sensitive site exploitation (SSE) capability that provides investigators a possible means to extract and analyze trace chemicals from a latent print. Using a combination of (i) a novel fingerprint powder that readily adsorbs chemicals and (ii) thermal (hard) and supercritical carbon dioxide (soft) techniques that are amenable to current forensic methods and maintain the latent print image, we plan to demonstrate that additional chemical information from a print may be used to profile a suspect in the event that the print is not on record. Further, The National Forensics Science and Technology Center (NFSTC) recently performed a preliminary assessment of the BAE fingerprint powder and indicated that the powder was concurrent to other commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) fingerprint powders in regards to obtaining ridge definition when using current TTPs (tactics/techniques/procedures) for generating and lifting latent prints from non-porous surfaces. In this proposed effort, our team will obtain dusted and lifted latent prints from ~ 200 individuals along with questionnaires describing various biometric (age, gender, etc) and other activity information (prescription drug user, smoker, etc) that coincides with each individual. It is important to note that this process has undergone careful scrutiny by a GMU internal review board (IRB) and found to be compliant. Next, information in the form of chemical analytes will be extracted from the latent prints using both hard and soft methods and will be compared to an initial database that links chemicals in prints to certain biometric and other information. Finally, collected data will be compared to the individual questionnaire to demonstrate a link between certain chemicals and biometric/other information to demonstrate the capability of enhanced profiling of an individual by analyzing chemical constituents hidden within a fingerprint. Also, to focus on particular threats, our group is also planning to lace latent prints with trace amounts of drug/explosive precursors to demonstrate that these types of chemicals can be collected and analyzed as well using the proposed technology. ca/ncf
Date Created: September 4, 2012