Chemical modification of wood by methods such as acetylation is required to improve characteristics such as photosensitivity and combustibility, and to provide harmonisation of wood properties in order to avoid swelling and shrinking and to improve biodegradability. The authors describe the use of mid and near infrared spectroscopies to monitor chemical changes due to acetylation is described.
This article shows that pyrolysis techniques, in combination with spectroscopy, are helping our understanding of how the organic matter in our solar system came to be. Fascinatingly, they also show how secondary processing of meteorite materials seems to enhance the abilities of atmospheres to host life on planetary surfaces as well as providing the raw materials from which life could originate.
The use of isotope ratio mass spectrometry is on the rise, with more papers published and more labs with the facilities. The authors describe the main IRMS studies conducted on seeds and isotopes and outline the most important aspects of the use of seeds to study plant eco-geochemistry and plant material traceability.
The presence of “particles” in protein pharmaceuticals (biologics) can cause severe, unwanted effects in the drug. The article describes the use of mid-infrared micro-spectroscopy for the investigation and chemical characterisation of single particles in these biologics.
A complication and barrier to wider uptake of SIMS, especially for organic materials, is the complexity of the mass spectrum. The G-SIMS method (from gentle-SIMS) was developed to simplify the spectra and provide direct interpretation based on the physics and chemistry of the SIMS process rather than on statistical analysis techniques such as principal component analysis or library matching methods.
There are many reasons for quantifying VOCs in air, from investigating pollution to diagnosis of diseases in humans. PTR-MS has many advantages for this, not least in speed and ability to provide an online analysis. It is a relatively young technique, but has a range of applications from botany and medicine through to industrial process monitoring, security screening, environmental analysis and food science.
This article explains what is represented in a Raman spectrum of carbon nanotubes and how to optimise the measurement. There is actually significant diversity within samples of nanotubes which affects both the material properties and the Raman spectrum of the material.
Even though lead in fuel has been banned for a number of years, it is still present in by the roadside, as are many other pollutants from vehicles. The combination of Raman spectroscopy and µ-ED-XRF is of particular value. The advantage Raman has is in the possibility of focusing on individual grains, thereby obtaining the spectrum of each grain that comes from traffic-emitted particles.
In principle, electromagnetic SEIRS should be as strong as electromagnetic surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) but, in SEIRS, disturbing fluorescence is absent. In order to get maximum IR vibrational signal enhancement for sensing of rare molecules, strong resonant scattering of plasmonic objects is recommended.
How a cat manages to turn and land on its feet may not be the most obvious start to an article in Spectroscopy Europe. However, C.J. Milne and M. Chergui use the example in their article on “Time-resolved X-ray absorption spectroscopy” to show how the time dimension is important in many analyses and applications. There has been a real surge in time-resolved X-ray absorption studies in chemistry, biology and materials science. Picosecond time resolution is routinely achieved and femtosecond resolution has been demonstrated at synchrotrons, albeit at the cost of a significantly reduced photon flux. However, the advent of hard X-ray-free electron lasers offer the promise of making such studies routine.
This article reviews the history of Mössbauer spectroscopy as well as looking at the ide range of applications it can address.
“Measuring brain activity using functional near infrared spectroscopy: a short review” by Felix Scholkmann and Martin Wolf looks at the various methods for performing fNIRS and some applications that demonstrate why this non-invasive, safely applicable, portable and cost-effective method is now an integral part of the techniques used in neuroscience.
“Mass spectrometry investigations of nanoparticles by tandem charge detection mass spectrometry” by Tristan Doussineau, Philippe Dugourd and Rodolphe Antoine describes how the limitation of conventional mass spectrometry for weighing macro-ions with masses higher than one megadalton can be overcome with the technique of charge detection mass spectrometry and how they have developed such an instrument for performing MS/MS. This has potential for exploring the “nano world”.
A. Roque, I. Ponte and P. Suau look at “Infrared spectroscopy of nucleoprotein complexes”. The advantages of IR spectroscopy have allowed them to determine the structure of linker histones and protamines as they interact with DNA. Linker histones are involved with the condensation of the thick chromatin fibre and are believed to have a regulatory role in transcription through the modulation of chromatin higher order structure.
It is possible to obtain both infrared spectra and thermal analysis data of individual layers in a cross-sectioned multilayer film. Since both techniques are AFM-based, the topographical features can be readily linked to the spectroscopic and thermal data at a much higher spatial resolution than previously achievable.
The study of dust particles in our atmosphere is important since they can act as a suppresor of global warming. The analysis of historical levels of dust in the atmosphere through ice cores is vital in this work. Synchrotron-radiation spectroscopic techniques such as TXRF and XANES can be used to analyse extremely small amounts of dust.
Raman spectroscopy is used to monitor the iodine value of algal-derived fish feed for its lipid content and to monitor algae samples for biofuel production.
Whilst fireworks are a great entertainment, they can also be used for illegal activities as well as potentially containing dangerous chemicals. The combination of Raman spectroscopy and SEM-EDS turns out to be a very efficient analytical method. In fact, these complementary techniques may also be used to analyse other kinds of pyrotechnic artefacts, low explosive formulations, high explosives, explosion residues etc.
The use of the terahertz region is in the headlines at present with its ability to screen passengers at airports, but it has important uses in the analytical field as well. This article reviews the latest research on proteins and peptides using THz-TDS, p-germanium lasers (75–85 cm–1) and far-infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy below 350 cm–1.
Praveen Ashok and Kishan Dholakia of St Andrews University, UK, describe the scope of optofluidic devices that can be implemented using the waveguide confined Raman spectroscopy (WCRS) technique they have developed. I am particularly impressed by the sample size of whisky shown in Figure 2—true Scottish style!