New laser technology can identify unknown white powders from safe distance

White powders found at known or potential crime scenes present investigators and first responders with a dilemma. Touching the powders could be dangerous or compromise the evidence, and sending samples to a lab to be identified could take too long. 

Now, scientists at Heriot-Watt University have proved the concept that white powders have a unique 'fingerprint' that allows them to be identified instantly, using portable . Professor Derryck Reid and his team reported in Optics Express that they were able to identify 11 white powder samples using their  system. No samples or disturbance of the powders were required, and they could be identified from up to one metre away.



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