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!
Since attempts to blow up planes using liquid explosives, we have all been restricted in what we can take onboard when we fly. Raman spectroscopy is offering a solution. However, “Time-resolved Raman spectroscopy for non-invasive detection through non-transparent materials” by Ingeborg Iping Petterson and Freek Ariese argues that time-resolved Raman spectroscopy (TRRS) techniques provide better spatial selectivity than the major alternative, spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS). Applications for through-skin measurements and depth analysis in catalytic extrudates are also described.
In the pharmaceutical industry, biologicals are of increasing interest due to their high therapeutic benefits. Amongst many other questions, the stability of new canditates is of great importance. Patrick Garidel describes this in “Right angle light scattering protein thermostability screening: from research to development”. The ability of this and other fluorescence-based techniques to detect very small quantities is of great benefit.
Do you remember magnetic tape-to-tape recorders and players? In any case, I am sure you will be interested in this article looking at the use of FT-IR spectroscopy to help the conservation of tapes in the collection of the National Museums Berlin. In “ATR/FT-IR spectroscopy for the characterisation of magnetic tape materials”, Elena Gómez-Sánchez, Simon Kunz and Stefan Simon describe how by investigating the state of the base layer of the tape, conservation efforts can be prioritised to those tapes in most immediate danger.
Monitoring drinking water quality poses many challenges and the authors describe their approach that combines instrumental developments with new software.
With the threat of climate change, understanding the workings of our atmosphere is of crucial importance. Ozone is the most important trace gas in the stratosphere and troposphere and it is monitored by both satellite-borne and ground-based instruments. Accurate knowledge of ozone absorption cross-sections is vital for this work and described in this article.
The African crested rat chews poisonous bark and then applies its saliva to specialised hairs which provide a most effective protection. Maxime Boulet-Audet and Chris Holland describe this and the use of infrared spectroscopy to learn more about this unusual animal. The new knowledge may even lead to new treatments for human cardiac conditions.
Counterfeiting is a major problem throughout the world and transmission Raman spectroscopy proves to be a very useful tool for fast and non-destructive detection of counterfeit pharmaceuticals.
Industrial environments pose potentially hazardous situations whereby workers may be exposed to various airborne toxic elements in their breathing zone. One of the main aerosol fractions of interest is welding fume, which can be determined with XRF spectrometry.
Chemical contaminants in water are of concern to all of us. This article reviews the use of mass spectrometry (MS) in environmental and wastewater analysis.
After an introduction to MALDI, DESI and SIMS, the authors describe their main applications in forensics, as well as the advantages provided in terms of sample preparation over approaches routinely used in toxicological laboratories.
Tea is harvested from the bud, the first leaf and the first three leaves up to a maximum of four leaves. Quality decreases from the bud down as the parts become older. This study looks at the use of NIR spectroscopy to determine optimal production using the harvested material.
TiO2 is widely used as a sunscreen UV filter and as a colouring agent in all types of cosmetic products. TiO2 has recently captured the attention of the scientific community since its safety assessment has been placed again under consideration. Inductively-coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP-AES), square wave voltammetry (SWV) and sedimentation field-flow fractionation (SdFFF) are described in this article to characterise and quantify the TiO2 particles inside six commercial foundation creams.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is one of the most powerful analytical tools used to probe details of molecular structure and dynamics. It requires very high magnetic fields and, hence, generally uses extremely large, powerful magnets. The advent of small, powerful magnets has allowed much less expensive low resolution NMR instrumentation to be designed, making it feasible to measure commercially important characteristics of dispersion behaviour and performance, including the wetted surface area of particulate suspensions and emulsion droplet size. An important additional practical application is the ability to determine competitive adsorption and/or displacement of polymers and surfactants at interfaces. This article presents a brief overview of these new approaches together with an example of each measurement.
This article shows that NIR spectroscopy offers the potential for bioprocess manufacturing companies to limit the variability in the biological production process, thereby increasing the yield and reducing the number of errors.
Applications of mass spectrometry in the clinical area have increased significantly in recent years and continue to expand. The complexity of analyses has also increased, with work being undertaken in clinical labs that would have been the reserve of research labs a few years ago.
This article surveys developments in the applications of Raman spectroscopy and the design of probes for use in endoscopes for the detection of early cancers in the throat and stomach.
BBCEAS is a new cavity-based absorption technique that uses broadband sources rather than lasers. This offers potential improvements in signal-to-noise but often lower spectral resolution compared to techniques where the laser wavelength is scanned. The article concentrates on liquid-phase applications, an interesting new area since most cavity-based absorption studies have been performed on gas-phase species up to now.