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Using ultrafast spectroscopy, researchers from Lund University, Sweden, have successfully measured in detail the flow of solar energy, in and between different parts of a photosynthetic organism. The result is a first step in research that could ultimately contribute to the development of technologies that use solar energy far more efficiently than what is currently possible.
Acal BFi have signed a Pan-European distribution agreement with Quantum Light.
TOptica have introduced FemtoFiber ultra NIR, the third generation of their femtosecond fibre laser.
Integrated Optics introduced an upgrade to its MatchBox series of ultra-compact CW laser sources for spectroscopy, sorting and illumination.
Another surface problem is tackled by Richard Pilkington, Stuart Astin and John Cowpe: “Application of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for surface hardness measurements”. Measuring the hardness of materials is not entirely straightforward, and the authors show that laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy offers the potential for in situ hardness measurements, without prior sample preparation.
Innovative new research led by the University of Exeter has demonstrated how the extraordinary properties of graphene can be exploited to create artificial structures that can be used to control and manipulate electromagnetic radiation over a wide range of wavelengths.
Jan Novotný, Karel Novotný, David Prochazka, Aleš Hrdlička and Jozef Kaiser tell us about “Two dimensional elemental mapping by laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy”. LIBS seems to be finding increasing applications and to be receiving interest by the instrument manufacturers at present. The article provides an introduction to the technique and goes on to show how it can be used for elemental mapping in materials analysis.
Researchers have developed a sensor network which can detect bomb making activity early on and locate it precisely using laser spectroscopy based on quantum cascade lasers.
The new Spirit from Spectra Physics is a compact, industrial grade, ultrafast amplifier with software-adjustable repetition rates up to 1 MHz. The ultrafast laser provides high average power and fully-automated adjustability over a wide range of repetition rates from 50 kHz to 1 MHz. Featuring a rugged one-box design, the laser delivers ultrashort 400 fs pulse widths with high energy of 20 µJ per pulse.
Laser Components has introduced the LabSource series of benchtop laser sources manufactured by PD-LD with Volume Bragg Grating stabilised laser diodes to its list of products. Two models are available, the LS-1 with a single volume Bragg grating laser diode and LS-2 featuring two stabilised sources. The dual wavelength functionality of the LS-2 enables use in a variety of tasks including SERDS, which involves two Raman spectra formed from closely matching but different excitation wavelengths allowing the offset of background fluorescence, resulting in improvement in the identification and measurement of organic and biological samples and in security industries where fluorescence is widespread.
The Millennia Edge from Spectra Physics is a single frequency CW 532 nm lasers featuring low optical noise, high beam quality and pointing stability in a compact package. Equipped with a robust sealed optical cavity, long life laser diodes and being fully computer-controlled, the laser ensures true turnkey day-to-day operation to meet the most demanding noise-sensitive applications. Wth its single frequency output, the system complements the company’s Millennia Prime family of high power CW green lasers.
This second Product Focus is on Molecular Spectroscopy, and a number of companies have provided information on their key products, their applications and features.
A laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument will be one of the ten science instruments on NASA’s next Mars rover, known as Curiosity. The Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on the rover uses a laser to excite a spot on rocks and produce an ionised gas which is observed through a telescope and analysed to identify the chemical elements in the target.
Robert Huber from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich has received a Starting Grant awarded by the European Research Council (ERC). The grant is worth 1.2 million Euros over a period of five years. The Starting Grants scheme is designed to support the work of outstandingly creative young investigators who are engaged in research at the forefront of their respective fields.
Europe is getting ready for its first unmanned visit to the surface of Mars. The first European Mars Rover on a joint mission of the American and European space agencies, NASA and ESA, will take off in 2018. The 250 kg Rover will roll over the surface of Mars at a speed of 100 m per hour. While doing so, it will inspect the surface and gather up ground and rock samples, some of them up to 2 m deep. The main goals of the so-called EXOMARS mission are to search for traces of former or present life on the earth-like planet, and to prepare for the arrival of a manned Mars landing.
Laser pulses lasting less than 150 attoseconds have been used to observe, in real time, the motion of electrons in the outermost (“valence”) shell of ionised krypton atoms. This technical achievement, reported in Nature 466(7307), 739–742, lays the groundwork for observations in more complex systems, which should allow a detailed examination of the fundamental processes underlying the making and breaking of chemical bonds.
The US Army Research Laboratory is working on laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), which has shown significant advances since its inception in the 1980s. Today, LIBS technology is used for multiple purposes, including the 2011 mission to Mars, detection of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive (CBRNE) material, and materials matching in forensic cases.
The Doppler effect is of fundamental importance in laser spectroscopy. The atoms and molecules in the ensemble under observation perform continuously movements with velocities grouped around one central frequency value which is determined by the ensemble’s temperature. This temperature movement of atoms leads to a spectral broadening of the transitions and so limits the application of many devices and methodologies. For atoms enclosed in cells with centimetre-scale size, the laser beam “sees” the atomic ensemble in the same way—with the same velocity distribution of atoms independently of the propagation direction trough the cell. In this case we say that the velocity distribution of atoms is spatially isotropic.
The problem of detecting, recognising and identifying explosives at significant standoff distances has proved one of the most difficult—and most important—challenges during recent years, being today, one of the most demanding applications of spectroscopic techniques. The limited number of sophisticated available techniques potentially capable of standoff detection of minimal amounts of explosives is based on laser spectroscopy. Of the recently developed techniques, Raman spectroscopy and laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) are considered significant for their potential for homeland defence applications.