Today we're all familiar with programs such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) and NCIS; where a team of scientists are able to systematically piece together the culprit of a crime by evidence on or around the victim and the surroundings, once evidence probably overlooked or even impossible to have been detected 20 years ago is becoming routinely characterisable today.

Just how true to the actual world of forensic science these programs are remains open to debate, I for one applaud any attempt to share with a non-scientific audience how scientists go about their day to day work.

Advances in forensic science are being witnessed every day, and a lot of the developments are thanks to scientists and the ability to bridge the gap from laboratory to court. The route to characterizing finger prints for example has developed at an astonishing rate, and nanotechnology has had a great part to play in this. Substituting the materials used to create the actual fingerprint with much smaller sized particles increases the sensitivity of the forensic search. This makes detecting and characterizing old, faint or partial prints much more routine, an interesting add-on to this development is to use fluorescent nanoparticles which bind to the print, to make the ultimate detection much easier.

We even see how forensic science techniques are now being used in discovering whether a piece of artwork is actually genuine or fake. Recently a tiny fiber from a rug was found within the layers of paint of a Jackson Pollock, if investigators can tie this back to the rug belonging to Pollock at the time then the work could sell for millions rather than a few hundred thousand for an unsigned work unauthenticated piece of work.

No doubt we will see many more episodes of CSI and NCIS with more amazing crime scenes being solved as science makes more advances.