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Techniques & Tools Spectroscopy

In Our Environment

Fuel Gauge

Raman spectroscopy is used to analyze fuel-air ratios in an engine, with a view to understanding efficiency.


Eruptive Technology

Fei Yan (European Southern Observatory, Germany, and National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China) operates a UV spectrometer to observe the sulfur dioxide absorption in the plume of Mount Etna.

For more info:

Photo: Leonardo Testi

Homemade Spectroscopy

A modern-day John Browning observes the sun's spectrum at Neamt Citadel, Moldavia, Romania.

Photo: Stefan-Constantin Scanteie, Bucharest, Romania

Deep Sea Firing

A naturally occurring outcrop of gas hydrate (off the coast of Northern California, in the Eel River Basin at 1623 meters depth) is examined using an in-situ laser Raman spectrometer by researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, USA. The laser is held and positioned by the robotic arm of the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and the Raman signals are collected in real time via Ethernet communications with the ROV.

Photo: Peter Walz, Peter Brewer and Edward Peltzer ©2013 MBARI

Forna Fingerprints

In Baccharis trimera, a medicinal plant native to South America, irregular monoterpenes, such as carquejol and carquejol acetate, are considered chemical markers. Studying the species in Centro de Pesquisa e Conservação da Natureza-Pro Mata in Brazil showed us that metabolism differences between the male and female specimens should be also considered.

Photo: Manuel Minteguiaga and Eduardo Dellacassa, Laboratorio de Biotecnología de Aromas. Facultad de Química, Universidad de la República. Montevideo, Uruguay.

Hands on History

A finely-constructed small glass Schrotter reaction vessel (1890s) in front of the laboratory procedure for analysis of carbonic acid in limestone, from Outlines of Quantitative Analysis by A. Humboldt Sexton 1903.

Photo: Andy Brill (via Flickr)

Laser Chamber

Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) is used to probe the chemical makeup of engine exhaust gases generated in Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Engine Emissions Laboratory. Understanding the complex chemistry may unlock ways to reduce engine emissions and help the environment.

Photo: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Have Lab, Will Travel

A makeshift portable field laboratory for on-site determinations of total iron in mine drainage from several sites in southwestern Pennsylvania. Mark Stauffer (University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg) performed spectrophotometric determination of iron using iron(II)-chelating agent Ferene S, a Vernier Spectro-Vis diode-array single-beam spectrophotometer, a Vernier LabQuest microprocessor, and a plastic cuvet. The best aspect of a lab-in-a-car? Staying dry and warm on a cold December day.

Photo: Mark Stauffer

Scent of a Woman

Christine Drea, Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University and her student Jeremy Chase Crawford (who has since moved to the University of California) collected secretions from ring-tailed lemurs for gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. “Chemical richness” decreased with pregnancy, more so for dams bearing male offspring. For more:

Photo: David Haring

Click the links below for more When Art Meets Science:

Where Art Meets Science

In Our Bodies

In Our Food

Out of this World

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About the Authors
Rich Whitworth

Rich Whitworth completed his studies in medical biochemistry at the University of Leicester, UK, in 1998. To cut a long story short, he escaped to Tokyo to spend five years working for the largest English language publisher in Japan. "Carving out a career in the megalopolis that is Tokyo changed my outlook forever. When seeing life through such a kaleidoscopic lens, it's hard not to get truly caught up in the moment." On returning to the UK, after a few false starts with grey, corporate publishers, Rich was snapped up by Texere Publishing, where he spearheaded the editorial development of The Analytical Scientist. "I feel honored to be part of the close-knit team that forged The Analytical Scientist – we've created a very fresh and forward-thinking publication." Rich is now also Content Director of Texere Publishing, the company behind The Analytical Scientist.

"Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ exper
Stephanie Vine

"Making great scientific magazines isn’t just about delivering knowledge and high quality content; it’s also about packaging these in the right words to ensure that someone is truly inspired by a topic. My passion is ensuring that our authors’ expertise is presented as a seamless and enjoyable reading experience, whether in print, in digital or on social media. I’ve spent seven years writing and editing features for scientific and manufacturing publications, and in making this content engaging and accessible without sacrificing its scientific integrity. There is nothing better than a magazine with great content that feels great to read."

Roisin McGuigan

I have an extensive academic background in the life sciences, having studied forensic biology and human medical genetics in my time at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. My research, data presentation and bioinformatics skills plus my ‘wet lab’ experience have been a superb grounding for my role as an Associate Editor at Texere Publishing. The job allows me to utilize my hard-learned academic skills and experience in my current position within an exciting and contemporary publishing company.

Related Application Notes
Water quality analysis - a challenge for spectroscopy technologies

| Contributed by Hamamatsu

NDIR gas sensing, Improve your detector design

| Contributed by Hamamatsu

Analysis of Microplastics Using AIRsight Infrared/Raman Microscope

| Contributed by Shimadzu

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