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article imageResearchers develop new blood-detecting camera

By Jane Fazackarley     Nov 20, 2010 in Technology
Two chemistry researchers from the University of South Carolina have developed a new tool which can detect substances which can't be seen with the naked eye.
The new technology has been called multimode imaging in the thermal infrared and may one day be used at crime-scene investigations as it has the ability to see blood stains that aren't visible to the human eye.
Dr. Stephen Morgan and Dr. Michael Myrick are both professors in the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University's College of Arts and Sciences, they developed the camera and their work has been published in the American Chemical Society's Analytical Chemistry. Graduate students Heather Brooke, Megan Baranowski, Jessica McCutcheon also authored the study.
Blood detection is vital at a crime scene. The blood at a scene can provide DNA and the analysis of blood splatter may give some insight into the sequence of events.
Dr. Stephen Morgan said:
“Detecting blood is like the holy grail of forensics."
“When you are able to detect blood at a crime scene, you know something bad has happened.”
Luminol tests are commonly used by investigators, the chemical was first used at a crime scene in 1937 but its use has some disadvantages. Luminol has the potential to be toxic, it can also dilute blood stains so that they can't be used for DNA testing and can cause blood splatter patterns to smear.
Morgan explained:
"Using the camera means that the surface doesn’t have to be changed in any way while it is being examined. With this, we view the scene without touching it."
The camera can capture hundreds of pictures in just a few seconds and at the same time illuminate its subjects with infrared light waves. Some of the photos are taken through filters which allow chemical components to show up and will highlight substances such as blood.
Further tests will be needed before the blood-detecting camera can be used at crime scenes.
Dr.Morgan said:
“This is not next week’s CSI tool."
“We still have to do validation studies and real-world studies.”
The study was funded by the National Institute of Justice and work first began on this project back in 2008.
More about Researchers, Blood, Detecting, Camera, University carolina
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