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Guilt on their hands: tiny 'tags' could help to solve and deter gun crime
Date:8/1/2008

A on gun cartridges. It involves increasing the abrasive character of the cartridge case with micro-patterned pyramid textures, or adding an abrasive grit, held in place by a thin layer of resin, to the cartridge base. This rough surface is able to retain dead skin cells from a thumb as it loads a cartridge into a firearm. A key benefit is also the affordability a cost-effective way of reliably capturing sufficient DNA from a gun cartridge has never been available before. The technology has been designed to avoid damage to the DNA captured which is caused (i) by temperatures generated as the gun is fired, when heat is rapidly transferred from the burning propellant into the cartridge case and (ii) when copper is extracted from the cartridge case by lactic acid in sweat.

The nanotag and DNA capture technologies could potentially be available for use within as little as 12 months. There may also be scope to apply them in other fields, such as knife crime, in future.

"We're currently focusing on understanding the precise requirements of the police and cartridge manufacturers," comments Professor Sermon. "But our work clearly could make a valuable contribution not only to solving gun crime but also to deterring criminals from resorting to the use of firearms in the first place."


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Contact: Natasha Richardson
natasha.richardson@epsrc.ac.uk
44-017-934-44404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

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