Interview of the Month

Jan 02, 2018
By Spectroscopy Editors
Geochronology is an exciting area of atomic spectroscopy and earth science research. One of the goals is to answer tectonic questions, and in particular, how the crust responds to continent–continent collision. John M. Cottle, a professor of earth science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is one of the scientists on that mission. Cottle and his research group are at the forefront of discovery in geochronology, combining both laboratory and field-based research. In particular, Cottle is a leader in the development of novel laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) measurements and their application to tectonic questions in convergent orogens, which are mountain ranges formed when a continental plate crumples and is pushed upwards.
Dec 11, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is an important technique in the pharmaceutical industry because of its ability to provide information about bulk material without sample preparation. Multivariate calibration techniques are frequently used to analyze the NIR data. Robert Lodder, who is a professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, uses NIR spectroscopy along with an interesting alternative calibration technique, molecular factor computing, in his work with an experimental drug for combating the Ebola virus. We recently spoke with him about his research.
Dec 07, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
The atomic spectroscopy techniques of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy have different strengths. Lydia Breckenridge, a senior research investigator at Bristol-Myers Squibb, uses both techniques in her work in pharmaceutical development. Here, she shares some of the advantages and challenges of using these techniques, and how the greatest benefits are sometimes derived by focusing on their complementarity, and using them in combination.
Nov 09, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors
Two-dimensional (2D) Raman correlation spectroscopy is a powerful analytical technique for analyzing a system under the influence of an external perturbation. Isao Noda, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, at the University of Delaware and Danimer Scientific, has been developing 2D Raman correlation spectroscopy and applying it to the study of various materials, including exciting new biopolymers. He recently spoke to us about this work.
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.
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