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Physics and Reverse-Engineering of Polarization Vision in Nature, Biologically-Inspired Polarization Imaging and Sensing

Non-Contact Latent Fingerprint Lifting and Imaging using Polarization and Specular Reflection

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 have introduced 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 physics 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.


For details regarding this image, please see, S. S. Lin, K. M. Yemelyanov, E. N. Pugh, Jr., N. Engheta, "Polarization- and Specular-Reflection-Based, Non-contact Latent Fingerprint Imaging and Lifting," Journal of the Optical Society of America A, vol. 23, issue 9, pp. 2137-2153, September 2006.