Glowing fingerprints to fight crime
An Australian scientist has developed a new technique for fingerprint detection and analysis. By adding a drop of liquid containing crystals to surfaces, investigators using a UV light are able to see invisible fingerprints “glow” in about 30 seconds.
CSIRO materials scientist Kang Liang believes that this technique could be used for more challenging evidence where conventional “dusting” is not appropriate.
The technique uses extremely porous metal organic framework (MOF) crystals. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation tested this method on nonporous surfaces – including window and wine glass, metal blades and plastic light switches – with successful results.
MOF crystals are cheap, react quickly and can emit a bright light. The technique doesn’t create dust or fumes, reducing waste and risk of inhalation.
The research was published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Columbia museum has science twist for trick-or-treaters
“Tricks and Treats” – the S.C. State Museum’s annual Halloween event, will be 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
The museum, in Columbia, will feature a haunted Halloween party with games and prizes, a wizard academy with a potions lab, a costume contest with prizes, a marionette performance of “Hansel and Gretel,” a scavenger hunt, crafts, balloon art and more. Two family-friendly laser light shows will be playing in the planetarium: “HalloScream Laser Lights” and “Legends of the Night Sky: Perseus and Andromeda.” Tricks & Treats activities are included with museum general admission; there is an additional fee to see the laser light shows. Details: www.scmuseum.org.
Raleigh science museum has Halloween activities Thursday
N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences will offer youngsters Halloween fun – with science – from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the Natural Research Center, 121 W. Jones St. Activities include “Potions and Pumpkin Dissection in the Micro-World Investigative Lab,” mystery sensory boxes, and the opportunity to take a selfie with a skeleton.
Also featured at “Halloween Thursday Night”: cupcake/cake walks, a pumpkin carving contest, a science costume contest and a scavenger hunt. Admission is free; please come dressed in family-appropriate costumes. Details: www.naturalsciences.org.
Better dentistry – with diamond-laced fillings
Gold, silver and porcelain are among the many materials dentists can use to fix damaged teeth. Soon diamonds – at least microscopic ones – could be added to that list. Scientists have developed a new material with nanodiamonds that has the potential to improve current root canal therapies and help prevent future infection.
Millions of Americans undergo root canals every year to clear out damaged or infected pulp, the soft part in the middle of a tooth. Dentists’ current go-to material to fill the space left behind is a rubber compound called gutta-percha. In some cases, however, a patient’s tooth can get re-infected, which calls for another treatment. To prevent this from happening, researchers have been exploring other fillers, including nanodiamonds, which are robust and can be modified with antimicrobial drug compounds. So Dean Ho, of UCLA, and his colleagues combined nanodiamonds, gutta-percha and amoxicillin – a broad-spectrum antibiotic – into a new material.
Lab testing showed it was stronger than gutta-percha by itself and was effective at killing Staphylococcus aureus, one of the bacteria responsible for root canal re-infections.
Their report appears in the journal ACS Nano.