Apr 2, 2010
Latest science news from David Bradley with a spectroscopic bent…
- Muscling in on the mussels’ grip – Spectroscopy has been used to probe the chemical composition of the cuticle of the common bivalve mollusc commonly known as the mussel. The research provides the first direct evidence that the cuticle has a protein-based polymeric scaffold stabilized by dopa-iron complexes, which helps explain how mussels keep their grip on rocks even on the fiercest of stormy shorelines.
- Liquid light molecules – Modified porphyrins that are liquid at room temperature could act as non-linear opticall limiters for optoelectronics devices, spectrometers, and a future generation of optical computer.
- Marvellous time for monitoring moonshine – A portable infra-red device that can quickly and easily determine the strength of alcoholic drinks proves more effective than laboratory-based FTIR spectroscopy. The device could be useful in law enforcement and in industry fraud.
- A sound approach to fibroids – A new interventional radiology tool based on using magnetic resonance imaging to guide focused high-energy ultrasound could be used to thermally ablate uterine fibroid tissue and relieve symptoms of this condition without major invasive surgery.
- Filling in the gaps in toxic dentistry – Canadian researchers have used electron yield Hg LIII X-ray absorption X-ray absorption spectroscopy to analyse old and fresh mercury amalgams used in dental treatment and found that older dental fillings contain a form of mercury unlikely to be toxic but express concerns regarding the fate of 95% of the mercury.
- Evolutionary approach to studying brain chemistry – Researchers have used a technique known as "directed evolution" to devise a novel contrast agent that could enable non-invasive magnetic resonance studies of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, in the brain.