The majority of wines are produced from around 20 different types of grape, all of which have their own typical aroma. This is due to the terpenes, a diverse category of chemical substances including cholesterol and estrogen. Scientists have now identified two enzymes that determine the terpene content, and thus the aroma intensity, of grapes. The findings could play an important role in the future development of grape varieties.
Scanning electron microscopes can determine chemical compositions with the help of energy dispersive spectrometers. However, lighter elements like carbon emit secondary fluorescence in an energy range insufficiently resolved by these instruments. Physicists have developed a potential solution to this problem by adding reflection zone plate optics to a specialized spectrometer that delivers high resolution from 50 to 1,120 eV.
Seeking to expand the United States' capability to detect and identify materials that are not easily visualized, DARPA this week released an announcement inviting proposals to develop portable, next-generation imaging tools that combine the complementary benefits of x-rays, which efficiently detect heavier elements, and neutron radiography, which is not as portable as x-ray detectors but can identify liquids and lighter elements.
German drug company Merck says it has agreed to buy St. Louis-based chemical firm Sigma-Aldrich Corp. for $17 billion in a deal Merck says will strengthen its business in chemicals and laboratory equipment. Sigma-Aldrich has over 9,000 employees in 40 countries and supplies chemicals and laboratory equipment to government and commercial facilities. Its board of directors has unanimously approved the deal.
European laboratories testing food for dioxins now have lower-cost, smaller-footprint alternatives for confirming levels of toxic contaminants, thanks to a new European Union regulation. Thermo Fisher Scientific worked closely with national reference labs in the EU to support the development of the new regulation, which permits use of gas chromatograph-triple stage quadrupole mass spectrometers (GC-MS/MS) for confirmation.
The Univ. of California, San Diego’s Nanofabrication Cleanroom Facility (Nano3) is the first institution to obtain a new FEI Scios dual-beam microscope, with an adaptation for use at cryogenic temperatures. The new microscope allows biologists to nanomachine cells to reduce them to the thickness required for electron microscopy without creating any sample distortions and while maintaining cryogenic temperatures.
Laser technology originally developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory for the Mars Science Laboratory has been selected for NASA’s new Mars mission in 2020. The Curiosity rover is equipped with ChemCam, which allows researchers to sample rocks and other targets from a distance using a laser. The new “SuperCam” will offer this capability along with another spectrum for Raman and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy.
China's first emperor ordered the building of a glorious underground palace complex, mirroring his imperial capital, that would last for an eternity. Protecting this underworld palace was his imperial guard, cast in terracotta. Efforts to preserve the 1974 archaeological find have been hampered by failures to pinpoint the binding material used in applying pigments to the soldiers. Mass spectrometry studies have recently solved this mystery.
At a press conference in Washington on Thursday, NASA announced the instruments to be designed into the Mars 2020 rover, a mission that will be based on the design of the highly successful Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity, which landed almost two years ago. Managers made the selections out of 58 proposals received in January from researchers and engineers worldwide.
Bruker has announced that it has acquired Vutara Inc., a technology leader in high-speed, 3-D, super-resolution fluorescence microscopy for life science applications. Transaction details were not disclosed. Vutara’s estimated revenue for the full year 2014 is expected to be approximately $2 million.
Scientists in Switzerland have developed a fast and accurate method for determining exactly which proteins cause allergies to milk. The novel approach, which is based on a specialized form of laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometry, is highly personalized and can extend to other foods as well.
Agilent Technologies, Inc. has recently introduced the new Agilent 5100 Inductively Coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES), which can run samples faster and uses less gas without compromising performance. While conventional dual-view systems require up to four sequential measurements per sample, the Agilent 5100 requires only one.
By fusing together the concepts of active fiber sensors and high-temperature fiber sensors, a team of researchers at the Univ. of Pittsburgh has created an all-optical high-temperature sensor for gas flow measurements that operates at record-setting temperatures above 800 C. The new technology should be ideal for use in deep drilling operations, nuclear reactor cores and outer space.
Plasmon tunneling is a quantum-mechanical effect where electrons rapidly oscillate across very closely-spaced metal structures. Using a Titan scanning/transmission electron microscope developed and made by FEI Company, the scientists were able to not only observe this new phenomenon directly, but also control the frequency of the tunneling currents by placing single layers of different molecules between the closely-spaced metal particles.
Shimadzu Scientific Instruments has recently launched the GCMS-TQ8040 with Smart MRM, which helps provide high-efficiency sample throughput, fast and easy method development and low detection limits. The new instrument enables analysis of more than 400 compounds in a single MRM run.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has launched the Institute for Functional Imaging of Materials to accelerate discovery, design and deployment of new materials. The institute will meld world-class capabilities in imaging, high-performance computing, materials science and other scientific disciplines to probe materials.
The inks on historical documents can hold many secrets about the past. And knowing how the ink breaks down can help scientists preserve valuable treasures. In a recent study, researchers report how a analysis method called tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy has been developed to help identify many types of inks on various papers and other surfaces.
B&K Precision Corp. has announced the acquisition of Teknix S.A., a service and calibration company based in São Paulo, Brazil. Under the new name of B&K Precision Brasil, the subsidiary company will become B&K Precision’s headquarters for South American operations. Antônio Freitas, who founded Teknix S.A. in 1999 will continue to serve as the manager of calibration and service operations of B&K Precision Brasil.
The Pittcon Organizing Committee, which holds the Pittcon Conference and Exposition each year, will participate in the International Year of Light initiative at the Associate Sponsor level. The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. The sponsorship effort will include a variety of focused workshops and short courses in the coming year.
Crystal IS has introduced Optan, the first commercial semiconductor based on native aluminum nitride (AIN) substrates. Optan increases detection sensitivity from monitoring of chemicals in pharma manufacturing to drinking water analysis.
Biochrom Ltd, a manufacturer of scientific instruments, and Gilson, a leader in fluidics, purification and sample management, announced an agreement to co-market and distribute in Europe products for automation of ELISAs and other absorbance assays. The partnership combines the strength of the EZ Read range of microplate readers from Biochrom, with Gilson’s innovative line of liquid handling systems.
Researchers in Spain have recently demonstrated, through experimentation, that a nonlinear interferometer can outperform an equivalent linear measurement, confirming theoretical predictions that nonlinear systems can outperform their linear counterparts if enough photons are used in the measurement. The result answers a fundamental quantum mechanics questions and could enable more sensitive measurements from interferometers.
PerkinElmer, Inc., has announced the launch of Elm, an innovative air monitoring service providing local air quality analysis for individuals, smart cities and sustainable communities. The Elm service enables the visualization and understanding of relevant real-time air quality detail, providing data that can be immediately accessed, both online and on mobile devices.
Winners of R&D 100 Awards must often wait months or even years before the market decides their innovation can become a truly successful product. The editors at R&D follow the fortunes of many these winners, and we are often surprised at the way they can quickly transform entire industries. Recent announcements from R&D 100-winning companies like Newlight, Dow Chemical and Leica Microsystems reflect this level of success.
JEOL and Nikon have integrated optical microscopy and field emission scanning electron microscopy in a way that enables seamless observation of the same region of interest on a sample with fast, accurate navigation. The technique, MiXcroscopy, employs the same specimen holder for both the optical microscope and the scanning electron microscope.
Commercial demand is driving high-tech research and development in micro-optoelectromechanical systems (MOEMS) for diverse applications such as space exploration, wireless systems, and healthcare. A new special section on Emerging MOEMS Technology and Applications in the current issue of the Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS discusses these recent breakthrough achievements.
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