ABOUT SMARTWATER: SmartWater is a liquid with a chemical signature that can be painted or sprayed onto valuable items, money, or crooks and improve the ability to identify and recover items. Bottles are uniquely formulated so that they can be matched and positively linked during an investigation. SmartWater can be detected under ultraviolet light and can be rigged to spray onto a would-be burglar who tries to move an item.
ANOTHER HIGH TECH WAY TO CATCH CROOKS: Another advanced technique uses a process called micro-X-ray fluorescence (MXRF), which rapidly reveals the elemental composition of a sample by shining a thin beam of X-rays onto it without disturbing the sample. All chemical elements emit and absorb radiation at a "signature" frequency of light. For instance, sodium emits primarily orange light, while oxygen (used in neon lights) emits green light. Scientists can pass collected light through an instrument called a spectrograph to spread it into a spectrum, much like visible light spreads into a rainbow of colors by a prism. By carefully studying how the spectrum becomes brighter or darker at each wavelength, scientists can tell what chemical elements are present in a given sample. MXRF can detect the sodium, potassium and chlorine from salts excreted in human sweat and left behind in detectable quantities in fingerprints. Since those salts are deposited along the ridge patterns in a fingerprint, it is possible to use the elemental analysis to produce a visual image of that fingerprint for analysis.
This report has been produced thanks to a generous grant from The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Inc.