The new TracER laser from Coherent, Inc. is a unique and powerful tool for trace evidence recovery at crime scenes, including latent fingerprints.
Based on a 5-Watt green laser, TracER lowers the barrier to laser use in forensics by delivering enhanced performance and ease of use in an economical platform. The TracER's high intensity output enables it to perform a non-destructive crime-scene sweep with unprecedented efficiency; it can recover fingerprints and other trace evidence solely from inherent fluorescence. And, the 532 nm wavelength is ideal for use with fumed samples and fluorescent probes, such as ninhydrin.
Ease of use factors include compact overall packaging, together with both battery and AC (110/240 V) operation. The TracER is comparable in size and price to systems that utilize an alternative light source, but it offers 10X higher brightness. In addition, TracER includes a fiber-coupled multi-function hand piece, which incorporates power controls (e.g., on/off, output level) as well as optical zoom capabilities to optimize the size and intensity of the speckle-free illumination area.
Lasers have long been known to offer superior evidence recovery capabilities when compared to lamp-based systems. However, the high cost and lack of portability of traditional laser technology have limited lasers to a few well-funded crime labs. TracER leverages Coherent's unique optically pumped semiconductor laser (OPSL) technology to deliver the advantages of laser illumination in a system that is approximately one third the cost and one quarter the weight of existing laser-based tools.