Finding out how long a fingerprint has been at a crime scene has always been a challenge for investigators. Now a team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working on a technique that would help law enforcement do just that. 

Shin Muramoto and Ed Cisco have developed a method of age-dating fingerprints using a highly sensitive mass spectrometry technique. It analyzes the chemical composition of a fingerprint and tracks the migration of certain chemicals. Based on that pattern, they are able to determine how old a fingerprint is. 

Their research appears in Analytical Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society.

Original article: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/...