U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Just Science Podcast: Just Fingerprints and Lasers

NCJ Number
Brian Dalrymple
Date Published
November 2020
3 pages

This fourth episode of the Case Studies Season in the National Institute of Justice's (NIJ's) Just Science podcast series is an interview with Brian Dalrymple - a forensic consultant, author, and instructor - who discusses his research and its impact on the field of latent print identification.


In 1977, Brian Dalrymple was a member of a research team that developed a method for detecting fingerprints by examining inherent fluorescence by using an argon ion laser. This new technology revolutionized the field of latent print identification. Since that research Dalrymple has completed about 100 examinations of murder victims for fingerprint evidence, authored several journal articles and books, and contributed to the widespread adoption of lasers as a means of detection. In the current interview, he discusses the origins of his research and methods for examining bodies for fingerprints. This involves capturing fingerprints from the skin of the deceased person. He also discusses the advantages of laser light in capturing fingerprints. The time frame since the death and the management of the body to limit skin changes are discussed as important variables in obtaining usable fingerprints from the skin. Other factors in obtaining fingerprints from the skin of bodies are also noted.