Interview of the Month

Oct 10, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
In recent years, researchers have been making important developments to advance the effectiveness of spectroscopic techniques for biomedical uses ranging from the identification of infectious agents to measuring the edges of cancerous tumors. X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy is among the techniques that can have useful medical applications. David R. Chettle, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, uses XRF for the in vivo measurement of toxic elements in human subjects, with the goal of developing devices that can be used to investigate the possible health effects of toxin exposure. He recently spoke to us about his research.
Sep 30, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
Bioanalysis, and particularly medical diagnostics, is an exciting area of spectroscopy research. One of the dreams is to develop spectroscopic tools that can be used for point-of-care diagnostics with a smartphone. Russ Algar, an assistant professor in chemistry at the University of British Columbia (UBC), in Vancouver, Canada, is one of the scientists on that quest. Algar and his research group focus on the development of nontraditional fluorescent materials—such as quantum dots, luminescent lanthanide complexes, and semiconducting polymer dots—for biochemical sensing. They are studying how these materials can be applied to a variety of problems, including molecular medicine, personalized medicine, and yes, point-of-care diagnostics with smartphones. For his work, Algar has been chosen as the winner of second annual Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy award, presented by Spectroscopy magazine.
Sep 14, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
In recent years, there have been significant advances in the application of vibrational spectroscopy to the analysis of forensic samples. Igor K. Lednev, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University at Albany, the State University of New York, has been developing the use of Raman spectroscopy for a variety of forensic applications, including the determining the age of blood stains and linking gunshot residues to specific ammunition–firearm combinations. He recently spoke to Spectroscopy about his work.
Sep 08, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
There is growing concern about the unknown effects that nanoparticles may have on the environment, especially in drinking water and plants. Single-particle inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (SP-ICP-MS) is emerging as a useful technique for analyzing nanoparticles and their presence in environmental and biological systems. Honglan Shi, a chemistry professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology, and her research group have been using SP-ICP-MS to investigate nanoparticles in drinking water and plant uptake. She recently spoke to Spectroscopy about this work.
Aug 14, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
In forensic science, the detection of blood on fabric is a very useful tool. Therefore, it is important that the methods used for detecting blood be as accurate as possible. Michael L. Myrick and Stephen L. Morgan, both professors in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina, have been investigating the use of infrared (IR) spectroscopy for this purpose, including comparing the effectiveness of infrared diffuse reflectance versus attenuated total reflectance Fourier-transform IR (ATR FT-IR). They recently spoke to Spectroscopy about their recent studies and the critical questions they have been addressing in how IR spectroscopy is used in forensic science.
Aug 02, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
Although laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) potentially can be used for practically any kind of sample, most applications have focused on solid sample analysis. Montserrat Hidalgo, a professor in the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Food Sciences and the University Institute of Materials at the University of Alicante in Alicante, Spain, has been working with various approaches to extend the applicability of LIBS to trace-elemental analysis of liquid samples. She recently spoke to us about this research.
Jul 12, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
Naoto Nagai, of the Industrial Research Institute of Niigata Prefecture in Japan, has been studying the potential of IR spectroscopy for investigating higher-order structures of polymers. He and his colleagues recently looked at the IR spectra of polyoxymethylene (POM) mold plates and the cause of occasional resin cracks.
Jun 06, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
In drug development, quantitative determination of a candidate drug and its metabolites in biofluids is an important step. The standard technique for quantitative metabolite profiling is radiolabeling followed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with radiodetection, but there are disadvantages to this approach, including cost and time, as well as safety and ethical concerns related to administering radiolabeled compounds to humans. Frank Vanhaecke and his research group at Ghent University have been developing an alternative technique, and he recently spoke to Spectroscopy about this work. Vanhaecke is the 2017 recipient of the Lester W. Strock award, which will be presented to him at the 2017 SciX conference. This interview is part of a series of interviews with the winners of awards presented at SciX.
May 30, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) with silver nanorod-array substrates has been used in various biological applications, such as detection of proteins in body fluids. Duncan C. Krause, who is a professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Georgia, worked with his group to establish a SERS method with those substrates for detecting the pathenogenic mycoplasma that causes bronchitis and pneumonia. We recently spoke with him about this research.
May 10, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
Coherent two-dimensional infrared spectroscopy (2D IR) uses a series of IR femtosecond laser pulses to pump and then probe the response of a system, making it possible to learn much more about the structure and dynamics of molecules than can be seen with one-dimensional IR spectroscopy. The technique’s inventor, Martin T. Zanni of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, discussed 2D IR in a 2013 interview in Spectroscopy (1). Since 2013, Zanni has applied 2D IR spectroscopy to new systems and has started a company, PhaseTech Spectroscopy, Inc., to commercialize the technique.
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