It’s not every day that an analytical chemistry technique makes it onto TV. On November 24th, a portable mass spectrometry technique for chemical analysis developed by researchers at Purdue University will make its television debut.
Season 7, episode 9 of CSI: Miami (on CBS) will reference the DESI MS imaging technique for analyzing latent fingerprints originally published in Science this August. Researchers can use the method to tell what a person recently touched and also to distinguish overlapping fingerprints from different individuals.
Thanks to a Purdue press release, the DESI paper was picked up by the mainstream media when it was published. CSI: Miami, a forensic show, is known for its portrayal of new technology. Brad Iten, a researcher for the show, says that the staff combs through mainstream media reports as well as some scientific journals looking for new technologies. “We’re trying to find new ways to pull things off,” he says.
Image credit: CBS