The tech that enables illegal substances to be detected with just a ﬁngerprint The University of East Anglia in the UK has developed a handheld device that detects the breakdown products of commonly abused drugs in sweat released from pores in the ﬁngertips. First, an image of the ﬁngerprint is taken to create a reference point and treated with a solution containing gold nano particles, which stick to the breakdown products of illicit substances. The particles are then stained with a ﬂuorescent dye and a second image of the print is taken.
This innovative test is much quicker than alternative methods and provides proof that the results belong to the person in question and are not down to sample contamination. Sweat released from pores in the ﬁngertips tracks along the ﬁngerprint ridges, carrying with it trace of drug metabolites. If the staining of the print is greatest at the pores, it provides solid evidence that the metabolites are being released from the sweat glands of the person being tested.