At crime scenes, forensic analysts and investigators collaborate to gather evidence and examine it for chemical, biological and physical markers, such as DNA, writes the Times of Israel.
Now researchers at Ben-Gurion University in Beer Sheva, Negev, have come up with an improved method of investigating tracks. The researchers have developed a device consisting of luminol (luminol is a chemical substance criminologists use to find traces of blood and proteins), nanoparticles of gold or silver that amplify light emission from blood traces.
Luminol reacts with microscopic biological residues invisible to the naked eye, which then emit light, revealing their presence.
But luminol is not a very good light emitter, so researchers at Ben-Gurion University have been trying to find a way to improve its ability to emit light.
By placing luminol in one syringe and gold and silver particles in another, they created a tube-like unit that is nourished by both syringes on its sides.
When forensic analysts suspect that there may be traces of blood at a particular location, the sample is placed on the edge of the tube. The mixture absorbs the light emitted from luminol, and then reflects it with a stronger light that makes it easier to see, explained Dr. Alina Karabchevsky from the Electro-Optics and Photonics Engineering Department, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science Technology at BGU, who developed the technology.
The device, invented by Karabchevsky and her team, not only increases the chemiluminescence intensity several times, but also prolongs the glow time of luminol, enabling the detection of much smaller traces of blood from a crime scene, the researchers say in a statement.
Identifying minor traces of blood may increase the effectiveness and accuracy of a forensic investigation from a crime scene, but it requires more sensitive detectors than those currently available, ”said Netta Cohen, CEO of BGN Technologies. “The method developed by BGU researchers will enable the development of future detectors with improved sensitivity. We are currently looking for partners to further develop this promising patented invention. “