The applicants, Intelligent Fingerprinting Limited, have developed a technology that is capable of using a fingerprint to test whether a person has had a drug in their bloodstream.
This is a cheap, quick and non-invasive way of testing people at the roadside, border or prison for drugs of abuse, explosives or other substances of interest.
The technology is similar in the way it works to a pregnancy test: except that a fingerprint is placed upon the square window of a sample cartridge, and a developing fluid released.
The result is then read by placing the cartridge in a reader which then gives a positive or negative reading.
However, to ensure such tests are accurate they must be calibrated against national standards.
IFP’s test has two factors that it measures that must be calibrated in this fashion before it can be accredited by national standards authorities (UKAS): the amount of substance that it has measured and the mass of fingerprint that it is measuring this substance from.
The company has a method of achieving the first of these.
However, no method has been found for measuring the mass of a fingerprint, although the company has invented a way of measuring the amount of fingerprint deposited on an arbitrary scale.
This project will work with NPL, who have an international reputation in measurement and maintenance of standards, to test whether it is possible to measure the volume of a fingerprint using a technique call White Light Interferometry (WLI).
If this is possible, then the mass can be calculated from the volume.