Informing Spectroscopists for Over 40 Years

Articles and Columns

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Following on from the two recent articles on how the Cloud may be impacting the availability of scientific software delivery for spectroscopists, this article looks at what the wider commercial spectroscopy software providers have been doing in this area.

Peter Jenks seeks to show where it is important to check the CRM or RM you are using includes a clear statement of commutability, and when and where it can be largely ignored.

The authors 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.

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.

“Rheo-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy: a versatile toolbox to investigate rheological phenomena in complex fluids” is Claudia Schmidt’s topic. Rheology is an important science, and NMR has a number of uses within it. However, challenges remain for the simultaneous measurement of rheological and NMR parameters.

In the Quality Matters column, Peter Jenks and John Hammond look “Into the future: changes to ISO 17025 and ISO Guide 34”. There is a lot happening at present around ISO/IEC 17025 and ISO Guide 34, which together provide the framework for the development and use of certified reference materials in analytical laboratories around the world. John reports from the recent 37th meeting of the Reference Material Committee of ISO (ISO/REMCO) and provides an update on the topic of “commutability”.

“Elucidating structural and compositional changes in plant tissues and single cells by Raman spectroscopic imaging” is the topic of the next article by Batirtze Prats Mateu, Barbara Stefke, Marie-Theres Hauser and Notburga Gierlinger. Understanding plant cells is important for the best use of plants in traditional and new applications. Raman spectroscopic imaging represents one of the best ways to unravel the molecular structure in the native environment of plant tissues.

The authors describe “Multisensor hyperspectral imaging as a versatile tool for image-based chemical structure determination”. They describe the features of a software package that allows the combined analysis of hyperspectral data from different imaging techniques. This multisensor approach providing complementary information has many advantages.

The Tony Davies column is a joint effort by Tony (A.N.) Davies, Mohan Cashyap, Bob Lancashire and Bob Hanson on “Exploring distributed, multi-server 1H NMR prediction”. This is the second part of the column’s investigation into the use of cloud-based services in the analytical arena. It describes a web page linking services from multiple sites on both sides of the Atlantic to deliver molecular structure drawing, 3D structure representation, name to structure conversion and display of data generated by linking chemical structures to 1H NMR prediction.

Peter Jenks is off to a conference. He describes the history of the Biological and Environmental Reference Materials (BERM) series of conferences and concludes that they still are important for all of us 30 years after their start. He urges you to attend the next, in October 2015 in the USA.

Robert Bradshaw and Simona Francese tell us about “Matrix–assisted laser desorption ionisation tandem mass spectrometry imaging of small molecules from latent fingermarks“. Especially when looking at small molecules in fingermarks, isobaric species can be a problem and this has the potential to affect the outcome of any court case if not handled appropriately. Tandem mass spectrometry can be used as an alternative to high-resolution MS and ion mobility.

Tony (A.M.C.) Davies continues on his last furlong, this time considering “Classification and identity testing”. As well as some interesting insights into the analytical lab in the late 1960s, he gives his opinion on various chemometric techniques and on identity testing, as well as thoughts on future development.

Orthogonal spectroscopic techniques for the early developability assessment of therapeutic protein candidates” are described by Patrick Garidel, Anne Karow and Michaela Blech. Due to its cost and time implications, in the early development phase of drug discovery the use of  othogonal techniques, based on different physical observables, is important for correct decision-making.

John Hammond and Chris Burgess are also in the middle of a multi-part contribution to the Quality Matters column. “…that’s what I thought you said?” looks at further misundertandings in terminologies surrounding Reference Materials, and sets the record straight.

Currently, pollen identification is mostly done under a light microscope. FT-IR spectroscopy of pollen grains provides rapid and simple identification of pollen, with the added benefit of providing environmental information.

Another area of application of XRF, “Determination of elemental distribution or heterogeneity by X-ray fluorescence”, is considered by Christopher Shaffer and Didier Bonvin. The ability of modern X-ray spectrometers to perform small spot analysis as well as mapping has opened up new applications in non-homogeneous samples. The authors show applications in metals, precious alloys as well as rocks.

Knowledge about the particles in the air is important because of their effect on our health and their impact on our climate through cloud formation and transport of nutrients into the oceans. Ursula Fittschen describes “Strategies for ambient aerosols characterisation using synchrotron X-ray fluorescence: a review”. This technique can provide elemental determination and speciation of aerosol particulates with limits of detection in the pg m–3 range for many elements.

In the Tony Davies Column, Tony (A.N.) Davies and Mohan Cashyap introduce us to the potential for Cloud Computing in the lab. This is the first of a two-part contribution, and, for the second part, they need your help with your experiences of Cloud Computing in your lab or organisation.

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.

“Spectral database for postage stamps by means of FT-IR spectroscopy” by Eleonora Imperio, Gabriele Giancane and Ludovico Valli will be of great interest. As well as helping to detect forgeries, FT-IR has been used to create a database which also charts the history of the technology used to create stamps. Quite rightly, they are considered by many to be works of art.

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