Subscribe to Newsletter
Techniques & Tools Spectroscopy, Mass Spectrometry, Clinical, Environmental, Forensics, Materials, Microscopy

What’s New in Spectroscopy?

Forecasting rocks. On February 28, 2021, the Winchcombe meteorite became the most widely recorded carbonaceous chondrite fall to date. Now, a research team from Germany and the UK decided to analyze the meteorite aiming to characterize its organic composition – potentially revealing details about the key elements involved in the delivery of prebiotic molecules to the early Earth. Employing high-spatial resolution spectroscopy techniques – to minimize processing of the sample – the researchers identified nitrogen-containing compounds, such as amino acids and N-heterocycles. The authors concluded that the extraterrestrial amino acid found in Winchcombe has also been detected in Ryugu – a key asteroid which was most recently analyzed by Timothy Glotch

Finding nanoplastics. Researchers from Texas A&M University and the University of Notre Dame collaborated to examine plastic nanoparticles in water samples obtained from two open oceans with shrinking surface bubble deposition (SSBD). The technique was originally developed for DNA analysis combining electron microscopy and surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and repurposed for this study to enable nanoplastic size and morphology determination – a measure that current techniques, such as gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy, cannot provide. The team discovered nanoplastics made of nylon, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate. “The nanoplastics we found in the ocean were distinctively different from laboratory-synthesized ones,” said corresponding author Tengfei Luo in a press release.  “Understanding the shape and chemistry of the actual nanoplastics is an essential first step in determining their toxicity and devising ways to mitigate it.” Now, the scientists are hopeful their study will help design and conduct more accurate toxicity studies. 

Low-energy; large results. Organic semiconductors are a crucial component of several electronic devices. In hopes of determining the binding energies for influencing the behaviors of these materials, Japanese researchers employed low-energy inverse photoelectron spectroscopy. Their research revealed unexpected correlations that could provide applications in bio-related materials. “Given the fundamental nature of our research, we expect long-term and persistent effects, both visible and invisible, on real-life applications,” said Hiroyuki Yoshida in the press release.

Gluing history together. Thanks to recent research employing energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), transmission infrared spectroscopy, and micro-computed tomography (microCT) to analyze Neanderthal stone tools, we now know more about the cultural evolution of ancestors. The team focused their study on the ancient adhesives used in the tools – arguing that it may be the “best material evidence of cultural evolution and cognitive processes in early humans.” The researchers discovered ochre-based adhesives – a surprising finding, as such tool making practice has only been recognized in African H. Sapiens and not Neanderthals before. Could this be a case of acculturation? The authors are unsure, but the results demonstrate that “the willingness to invest in tools that represented an elevated cost documents the complexity of late Middle Paleolithic hominin behavior.”

In Other News…

Scientists from Shanghai Normal University design biocompatible protein chromophore-based probes for spectroscopic characterization of fingerprints in crime scenes. Link 

Bullying and victimization leads to decreased glutamate-glutamine (Glx) levels – according to proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy – and a greater risk of psychotic episodes. Link

Combination of machine learning with Raman, and FT-IR spectroscopy successfully predicts and grades malignancy levels of pancreatic neoplasms. Link 

Attosecond-pump attosecond-probe x-ray spectroscopy allows researchers to observe water electron dynamics in real time. Link

Researchers use laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy to characterize changes in mineral and water contents of grapevine tissue according to climatic and viticulture factors. Link

Biologists and physicists from the University of Leeds, UK, collaborate and develop on-chip Raman spectroscopy – incorporating microfluidic techniques – to characterize the development of oesophageal adenocarcinoma cells. Link 

Study demonstrates successful label-free blood typing by AI-enabled Raman spectroscopy – paving the way for future applications in transfusion medicine and blood banking. Link

Receive content, products, events as well as relevant industry updates from The Analytical Scientist and its sponsors.
Stay up to date with our other newsletters and sponsors information, tailored specifically to the fields you are interested in

When you click “Subscribe” we will email you a link, which you must click to verify the email address above and activate your subscription. If you do not receive this email, please contact us at [email protected].
If you wish to unsubscribe, you can update your preferences at any point.

About the Author
Markella Loi

Associate Editor, The Analytical Scientist

Register to The Analytical Scientist

Register to access our FREE online portfolio, request the magazine in print and manage your preferences.

You will benefit from:
  • Unlimited access to ALL articles
  • News, interviews & opinions from leading industry experts
  • Receive print (and PDF) copies of The Analytical Scientist magazine