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The current technique for extracting fingerprints involves applying a powder and removing the fingerprint with tape. This method, however, is destructive of the original fingerprint and may not work well on all surfaces.
Light reflected from a surface is usually polarized at an angle, and this information can be used to perform analysis of surface discontinuities, such as the residue left by a fingerprint. Polarization imaging can help detect fingerprints that would not normally be visible, and do so with a high image quality. Because this technique is non-destructive and non-contact, important forensic evidence can be preserved for future analysis.