innovators in the design and manufacture of systems for the examination of questioned documents, latent fingerprints, trace evidence and shoe prints.

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a cutting-edge chemical vapor fuming process to develop fingerprints on a range of difficult surfaces including those that have been exposed to extreme heat (discharged bullet casings, for example) and items that have been washed ‘clean’ in an attempt to prevent identification. 


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"This discovery gives us the ability to recover fingerprints from items that would have been previously difficult or impossible. It has shown particularly good results when used on fired ammunition cases, knives and contaminated metallic items"


Steve Bleay, MoD Defence Science and Technology Laboratory



Typical Applications


Fired Ammunition

Fired bullet cartridges are notoriously difficult to retrieve ‘usable’ prints from. RECOVER can yield fingerprints of incredibly high quality.

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IED Fragments

The original RECOVER application, prints can be visualized on metals exposed to extreme heat, including Improvised Explosive Device (IED) fragments.

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Washed Items

Even when an item of evidence has been washed clean, or submerged for an extended period of time, RECOVER can still retrieve identifiable prints.

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Collaborative Effort

Discovered at Loughborough University, developed with the backing and support of the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (dstl), and now, refined by foster+freeman, RECOVER LFT fingerprint technology represents a fantastic example of collaborative working to achieve innovation that will help the police and security services to identify criminals and link them to their crimes.



Video Courtesy of Dstl  





A Compact Laboratory System

RECOVER semi-automates the complex chemistry required to produce consistently high-quality fingerprints on untreated or cyanoacrylate-fumed items of evidence. Designed, engineered, and refined to provide a simple, low-maintenance solution, RECOVER contains all of the hardware and software components required for fingermark development, within a compact laboratory system.

Watch Video: RECOVER Hardware 


Motorized Lid
Offers adjustable capacity

Operated via the touchscreen, enables development chambers of varying capacity to be used.


Development Chamber
Provides 360o visibility

Available in 2 sizes, allows the user to monitor the development of fingermarks from all angles.


Precursor Activation Stage
Initiates precursor transition

Pre-weighed precursor ‘charges’ are placed into the temperature-controlled activation stage.


Integrated System
A turnkey laboratory solution

Compact and uncomplicated, the RECOVER system takes up a minimal workspace and is delivered ready-to-use.


Touchscreen Interface
Intuitive software design

User-friendly, icon-driven software reduces complex chemistry to a simple step-by-step process.






Testing and Evaluation

Today, more than ten years since the initial work on RECOVER first began at Loughborough University, the technique continues to undergo extensive and uncompromising scientific study.


FIELD TESTING: The Firing Range

Mixed-calibre ammunition was hand-loaded into a selection of firearms at a Las Vegas gun range. After firing, the shell cases were collected and treated using the RECOVER instrument. Where other techniques have previously had some success at visualizing fingermarks on a low percentage of bullet casings, RECOVER was able to reveal usable marks on the majority of casings examined.


Watch Video: The Firing Range



  recover-rangeFiring hand-loaded ammunition at the range

EVALUATION: Independent Evaluation

A peer-reviewed paper published in the Science & Justice journal by representatives of the Home Office Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST), Loughborough University, Foster+Freeman Ltd., and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), compares the LFT technique against other leading processes for the visualisation of fingerprints on metals exposed to a range of environments.

Notably, the study reveals LFT to be the superior technique for the development of prints on several significant evidence types that have been:

  • Exposed to high temperatures (consistent with fired bullet casings)
  • Purposely washed clean in a bid to erase evidence
  • Submerged in a liquid, for example, artefacts that may have been discarded in a body of water


Published Paper: View Online



  1-week old prints on stainless steel washed with detergent

IN-HOUSE TESTING: Exploring the Limits of RECOVER

Having produced impressive results on a wide range of evidence types previously considered to be difficult or impossible to obtain prints from, in-house chemists have now moved on to testing the absolute limits of the RECOVER LFT technique. Recent tests have produced high-quality fingermarks on metal plates that have been submerged in harsh chemicals including disinfectants and bleach.


Watch Video: The Pond


  Fingermarks on brass that have been submerged in bleach


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