Informing Spectroscopists for Over 40 Years

Articles

Whilst the major components of food are usually non-fluorescent, many minor food components that affect its nutritive, compositional and technological quality are fluorescent. Given its sensitivity, ease of use and non-destructive nature, this makes it useful in many applications around monitoring food processing and in fundamental food research.

This article is is a fascinating look into the use of laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry in forensic examination of glass fragments. These are often associated with crime scenes and easily “attach” to any people near them. Thus, they can be used to link criminals to their crime and to provide information on where a glass fragment might have originated.

This article gives a most useful overview of the analysis and sequencing of nucleic acids by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry, which should interest all readers and may well serve as a useful tutorial article.

Lithium ion batteries power most of the electrical devices we rely on every day. As well as mobile phones, laptops and tablets, they are finding increasing use in vehicles, with electric cars not uncommon on our streets. This article is from a young scientist who has won help for her research through an instrument company’s support programme. You can find out more, read the article and even apply yourself.

There are a number of advantages of Raman microspectroscopy, including its the ease of its application, as in many cases no or very little sample preparation is needed and the experiments are performed at atmospheric pressure.

The study of metabolites in our sewage systems is not new, but there are particular difficulties with identifying the metabolites from new psychoactive substances, or “legal highs”. The authors describe a wide range of sample collection methodologies and their analysis with mass spectrometry.

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.

Terahertz spectroscopy and imaging of Paleolithic cave etchings, 14th century paintings in a church and a mid-20th century Italian painting are all described. This helps demonstrate the versatility of the technique as well as its potential in cultural heritage preservation.

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.

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