What’s up doc?—High-precision isotopic analysis of essential metals in biofluids for medical diagnosis

The question “What’s up doc?—High-precision isotopic analysis of essential metals in biofluids for medical diagnosis” is posed by Frank Vanhaecke and Marta Costas-Rodriguez. Research is under way as to the possibility of using high-precision isotopic analysis of metals in a biomedical context. The goal is to develop methods for medical diagnosis on the basis of isotopic analysis of mineral elements in biofluids, for diseases that can otherwise only be established at a later stage or via a more invasive method (e.g., a biopsy) and/or for prognosis purposes. Whilst this work is in a very early stage, it is known that various diseases have an influence on the uptake, metabolism and/or excretion of essential mineral elements and thus, can cause a difference in their isotopic composition in biofluids.

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Infrared mapping spectroscopic ellipsometry

Karsten Hinrichs and Andreas Furchner describe “Infrared mapping spectroscopic ellipsometry”. Recent developments in fundamental and materials research have increased the value of mapping techniques such as ellipsometry. IR ellipsometry, since it operates in the mid-IR fingerprint region, provides complementary information on composition, structural properties and interactions

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Multispectral imaging and the art expert


This article, by Antonino Cosentino is “Multispectral imaging and the art expert”. Multispectral imaging systems are increasingly being used by scientists and conservators working with art. They can map and identify the consituents of the paint and any retouching that may have been carried out on works of art. They are also used to visually enhance old and faded documents.

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Mössbauer spectroscopy in astrobiology

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Christian Schröder tells us about “Mössbauer spectroscopy in astrobiology”. Iron is abundant in the Earth’s crust, as well as on Mars and is likely to be so also on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Iron is important for life and may have played a role in the origin of life as an energy source and by providing mineral surfaces as a template for surface metabolism. Iron continues to be essential for almost all organisms as the functional centre of many proteins and enzymes. Mössbauer spectroscopy is a powerful tool to study iron-bearing solid substances and as such has applications in the search for life in other parts of our Solar System.


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In vivo Raman spectroscopy of skin


In vivo Raman spectroscopy of skin” is Paul Pudney’s topic. The skin is a most important part of our bodies. There is great interest in studying it to help understand the many skin diseases we are prone to, including cancer, to develop skin care products and, increasingly, as an alternative route to administer pharmaceuticals instead of through the gut. Raman spectroscopy is an exellent tool to study these, and has particular advantages in its ability to do so in vivo.

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