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Jürgen Gross has been using ambient mass spectrometry to look at the presence of polydimethylsiloxanes (PDMS) in food prepared in silicone rubber objects and on baking parchment. He shows that PDMS migrates into the food, something perhaps we should think about if in the mood for some baking!...

Stanislav Strekopytov tells us about “The use of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry to quantify chemical hazards in natural history collections: arsenic and mercury in taxidermy bird specimens”. It is quite shocking to learn about the use of poisons to preserve taxidermy specimens in...

Photo of dragonfly wing

Mark Tobin and colleagues describe “Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and imaging of dragonfly, damselfly and cicada wing membranes”. Insects and plants have evolved highly specialised surfaces such as being highly water repellent or superhydrophobic, which also confers self cleaning...

The “Application of Raman and photoluminescence spectroscopy for identification of uranium minerals in the environment” is described by Eric Faulques, Florian Massuyeau, Nataliya Kalashnyk and Dale Perry. Uranium forms a large number of compounds and complexes, and these are most helpful in the...

Yvonne Fors, Håkan Grudd, Anders Rindby and Lennart Bornmalm tell us about “X-ray fluorescence for cultural heritage: scanning biochemical fingerprints in archaeological shipwrecks”. Two outstanding examples of the preservation of wood are the warships Vasa, in Stockholm and the ...

“From lake ecology to biofuels—applications of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to algal research” is the topic of Andrew Dean, Jon Pittman and David  Sigee. Algae are essential for our continued live on Earth, and FT-IR spectroscopy can increase our understanding of their physiology and...

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...

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...

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.

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...

The authors describe the use of a range of complementary methods to explore cellular, physiological and behavioural mechanisms underlying Al accumulation and toxicity, and its eventual fate, using the pond snail as a model organism.

Raman spectroscopy is to be used as one of the analytical techniques for the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission to identify the geological and biogeological spectral signatures that could herald the presence of extinct or extant life on Mars. The article looks at the benefits of Raman...

Research is under way as to the possibility of using high-precision isotopic analysis of metals in a biomedical context. The goal is to develop methods for medical diagnosis on the basis of isotopic analysis of mineral elements in biofluids, for diseases that can otherwise only be established at...

Karsten Hinrichs and Andreas Furchner describe “Infrared mapping spectroscopic ellipsometry”. Recent developments in fundamental and materials research have increased the value of mapping techniques such as ellipsometry. IR ellipsometry, since it operates in the mid-IR fingerprint region,...

In situ spectroscopic methods such as infrared, Raman and UV/vis spectroscopy are powerful tools to gain insight into reaction mechanisms and catalyst actions in homogeneously catalysed reactions. These methods and combinations of them offer great potential for the real-time monitoring...

In vivo Raman spectroscopy of skin” is Paul Pudney’s topic. The skin is a most important part of our bodies. There is great interest in studying it to help understand the many skin diseases we are prone to, including cancer, to develop skin care products and, increasingly, as an...

Christian Schröder tells us about “Mössbauer spectroscopy in astrobiology”. Iron is abundant in the Earth’s crust, as well as on Mars and is likely to be so also on Jupiter’s moon, Europa. Iron is important for life and may have played a role in the origin of life as an energy source and by...

“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...

Jan Novotný, Karel Novotný, David Prochazka, Aleš Hrdlička and Jozef Kaiser 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...

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...

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...

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...