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The study of metabolites in our sewage systems is not new, but there are particular difficulties with identifying the metabolites from new psychoactive substances, or “legal highs”. The authors describe a wide range of sample collection methodologies and their analysis with mass spectrometry.
This article gives a most useful overview of the analysis and sequencing of nucleic acids by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry, which should interest all readers and may well serve as a useful tutorial article.
There are a number of advantages of Raman microspectroscopy, including its the ease of its application, as in many cases no or very little sample preparation is needed and the experiments are performed at atmospheric pressure.
Lithium ion batteries power most of the electrical devices we rely on every day. As well as mobile phones, laptops and tablets, they are finding increasing use in vehicles, with electric cars not uncommon on our streets. This article is from a young scientist who has won help for her research through an instrument company’s support programme. You can find out more, read the article and even apply yourself.
International standards need to keep pace with the innovation in analytical equipment and practices. For example, many of the advances in nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy reported in this journal in recent years have yet to find themselves mirrored by updates in the respective Recommendations of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), nor in the many and varied proprietary recommended reporting formats of the different peer-reviewed primary scientific journals. Not that every innovation needs to be “standardised”: with the speed of many developments it is important to find the right balance between reacting to real movements in a field and enshrining a short-lived fad in a IUPAC Recommendation.
This column now turns its attention to sampling using a very popular tool, the “sampling spear”. There is much good to be said about spear sampling—and only one thing which is bad. But this is bad enough: spear samplers are very, very difficult to get to produce representative samples! The spear sampling principle can be made representative, but in most practical situations in which spear sampling is used today it manifestly is not. WHY? And more importantly, WHAT can be done about it? This column also turns out to touch on one of TOS’ six governing principles: SSI, Sampling Scale Invariance.
It is not every issue that one of our articles starts with a quotation in medieval English, and it is appropriate as two of our articles cover the use of spectroscopy in cultural heritage. This is yet another field where the rich information provided by spectroscopy, along with its non-destructive nature (for many techniques), portability and ability to generate chemical images make it the answer to many questions. Kate Nicholson, Andrew Beeby and Richard Gameson are responsible for the medieval English at the start of their article “Shedding light on medieval manuscripts”. They describe the general use of Raman spectroscopy for the analysis of historical artefacts, and, in particular, their work on medieval European manuscripts and 18th century watercolour pigments. They stess the importance of checking the actual laser power density to avoid damage to priceless artefacts.
Jean Robertson, Charles Shand and Estefania Perez-Fernandez update us on the use of various spectroscopies for soil analysis in “The application of Fourier transform infrared, near infrared and X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to soil analysis”. Once again developments in portable instruments lead to greater ease of use and the ability to measure far more samples. They describe the application of FT-IR, NIR and XRF spectroscopies to the development of the National Soils Inventory of Scotland, and their work in developing the use of handheld instruments, particularly FT-IR spectrometers.
Returning to our cultural heritage theme, Bianca Jackson tells us about “TISCH—Terahertz Imaging and Spectroscopy in Cultural Heritage: applications in archaeology, architecture and art conservation science”. Terahertz spectroscopy and imaging of Paleolithic cave etchings, 14th century paintings in a church and a mid-20th century Italian painting are all described. This helps demonstrate the versatility of the technique as well as its potential in cultural heritage preservation.
- Gerry Downey: an authentic spectroscopist
- Spectroscopic evidences to understand the influence of marine environments on Built Heritage
- Synchrotron-based micro Fourier transform infrared mapping to investigate the spatial distribution of amorphous and crystalline calcium carbonate in earthworm-secreted calcium carbonate balls
- Infrared spectroscopic techniques for the non-invasive and rapid quality control of Chinese traditional medicine Si-Wu-Tang
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- Analysis and sequencing of nucleic acids by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionisation mass spectrometry
- Investigation of the decomposition of organic solvent-based lithium ion battery electrolytes with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry
- Raman microspectroscopy provides access to compositional and microstructural details of polycrystalline materials
- Are they among us? Screening for drugs of abuse and new psychoactive substances in pooled human urine and wastewater samples
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