The authors describe work they are doing to develop a green methodology to determine soil organic matter. If the World’s population is to be fed in the future, improvements to agricultural productivity are required and soil fertility will be key to this. Current methodologies are time-consuming and expensive, but visible-near infrared spectroscopy has the potential to replace them.
Knowledge of the origin of bones has applications in anthropology, archaeology and forensics; NIR spectroscopy, even with handheld instruments, is showing promise in being able to differentiate bones from different species.
Jacques Thierie’s article raises a seemingly impossible observation: that in some cases, transparency can exceed 100 %.
We all know how spectroscopy and other analytical technologies have played important roles in detecting fraud and in authentication. Paper collages, or photomontages, are part of the art market that is seeing much interest amongst collectors. It is difficult to detect forgeries just through expertise. The use of NIR imaging offers a number of ways to identify forgeries or authenticate the collage non-destructively; from determining the glue used to the revealing of printing on the back of the pieces or paper, which often have been taken from books and magazines.
It is not every issue that one of our articles starts with a quotation in medieval English, and it is appropriate as two of our articles cover the use of spectroscopy in cultural heritage. This is yet another field where the rich information provided by spectroscopy, along with its non-destructive nature (for many techniques), portability and ability to generate chemical images make it the answer to many questions. Kate Nicholson, Andrew Beeby and Richard Gameson are responsible for the medieval English at the start of their article “Shedding light on medieval manuscripts”. They describe the general use of Raman spectroscopy for the analysis of historical artefacts, and, in particular, their work on medieval European manuscripts and 18th century watercolour pigments. They stess the importance of checking the actual laser power density to avoid damage to priceless artefacts.
Once again developments in portable instruments lead to greater ease of use and the ability to measure far more samples. They describe the application of FT-IR, NIR and XRF spectroscopies to the development of the National Soils Inventory of Scotland, and their work in developing the use of handheld instruments, particularly FT-IR spectrometers.
Benchtop mid-IR and NIR as well as portable NIR instruments are used for quick and non-invasive quality control of this traditional Chinese medicine. Adulterations could be detected, as well as the raw herbs and different sources of the Si-Wu-Tang. The success of the mobile NIR instrument is particularly interesting due to the growing interest in such technology for its ease-of-use and cost.
In this Tony Davies Column, we learn about “Automated detection of counterfeit drugs using multimodal spectroscopy and advanced web-based software platforms”. The German authorities have commissioned the development of a multi-modal, transportable inspection system, including intelligent data processing and evaluation, for fast spectroscopic recognition of illicit drugs and counterfeit medicines. This is described in the column.
“Optical spectroscopy in therapy response monitoring: an awakening giant” by Arja Kullaa, Surya Singh, Jopi Mikkonen and Arto Koistinen looks at the important advances made by optical spectroscopy techniques, such as diffuse optical spectroscopic imaging (DOSI), Raman, diffuse reflectance and fluorescence spectroscopy, in changing how cancer is managed in patients. The ability to repeatedly monitor tumour dynamics to see how effective a particular treatment has been has enormous potential for us all.
This is Tony’s last column for Spectroscopy Europe. It is explores an idea that he has been developing for over 30 years, although as Tony points out the story starts around 3500 years ago.
The analysis of turbid samples is increasingly important, not least due to their widespread occurrence in natural samples. Dmitry Khoptyar, Sören Johansson, Staffan Strömblad and Stefan Andersson-Engels show “Broadband photon time-of-flight spectroscopy as a prospective tool in biomedicine and industrial process and quality control”. The authors describe their recent development of a broadband spectrometer for evaluation of absorption and scattering spectra of very diverse turbid materials in the visible and close-near infrared (NIR) regions and its application with milk, cheese and paper samples.
Tony (A.M.C.) Davies looks at Multiple Linear Regression (MLR) this issue, as well as expressing his opinions about Principal Components Regression (PCR) and Partial Least-Squares (PLS).
Tony (A.M.C.) continues down the last furlong of his series of Tony Davies Column articles. This issue, he considers principal component analysis (PCA). Using research recently published in the Journal of Near Infrared Spectroscopy, he explains that PCA is a very useful tool but it will not solve all our problems. Two old articles on PCA, including Tony’s concept of the “Data Cake” have been added to the website, are referenced in Tony’s article and can be freely downloaded by readers.
With continuing food scares around the world, food producers need every tool they can get to prevent contamination of their products at every stage of production. Hyperspectral reflectance imaging in the NIR combined with chemometrics shows much promise for the detection and identification of foreign bodies among food grains.
Tony (A.M.C.) Davies starts a review of the chemometric ideas that have most excited him over the last 30 years. In this column, he looks at the use of Fourier transformation for data compression. FT can also provide the side benefit of reducing high-frequency noise.
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.
Tony (A.M.C.) Davies and Tom Fearn describe an enhancement of the popular partial least squares (PLS) technique, powered partial least squares (PPLS), that has shown significantly better results.
Tony Davies makes sure we understand “What IS and what is NOT chemometrics” and why it matters.
“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.
The Tony Davies Column once again contains a contribution from Karl Norris, who is widely regarded as the “father of NIR spectroscopy”. Karl continues to produce innovative ideas about the field and this article is no different. Building on the previous article concerning fourth derivatives, Karl has investigated the effect of varying gap sizes with some remarkable results.