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  • 'Incriminator' Appears on 'Law & Order'
May 2004
SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 11 -- A forensic laser system made by Coherent Inc. has been featured this season in the long-running NBC crime drama "Law & Order." The laser-based tool, the Incriminator, has been scripted into mid-season shows, one of which has already aired.
   The laser was chosen for use in "Law and Order" by Ron Stone, property master at Wolf Films, in association with Universal Network Television LLC. According to Stone, "One of the keys to the continued success of 'Law & Order' is its emphasis on authenticity; we show how crimes are solved and prosecuted at the nuts-and-bolts level. Our use of this laser tool enables us to realistically show forensic work while entertaining the viewer with a taste of laser-age technology."

The Incriminator uses the 532-nm output from a frequency-doubled Nd:YV04 laser to reveal fingerprints that have been glue-fumed and highlighted with rhodamine 6G. This is also an optimum wavelength for exciting ninhydrin, another fluorescent material commonly used to find and image fingerprints on porous surfaces that are not compatible with glue fuming.

The portable system is based on Coherent's Verdi laser. Light is delivered to a trigger-grip handpiece through an armored fiber-optic enclosed within a waterproof umbilical connector. This umbilical also incorporates a link between the handpiece and the laser, allowing a safety shutter inside the laser to be controlled by the handpiece trigger.

It can be used to locate fingerprints, fibers, body fluids, bone fragments, tooth chips, narcotics residue and a variety of other trace evidence, even in high-ambient-light environments. A number of crime labs currently use the Incriminator, including numerous police departments as well as federal law-enforcement groups such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

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