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Concept: Infrared


Near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) has been successfully used for non-invasive diagnosis of diseases and abnormalities where water spectral patterns are found to play an important role. The present study investigates water absorbance patterns indicative of estrus in the female giant panda. NIR spectra of urine samples were acquired from the same animal on a daily basis over three consecutive putative estrus periods. Characteristic water absorbance patterns based on 12 specific water absorbance bands were discovered, which displayed high urine spectral variation, suggesting that hydrogen-bonded water structures increase with estrus. Regression analysis of urine spectra and spectra of estrone-3-glucuronide standard concentrations at these water bands showed high correlation with estrogen levels. Cluster analysis of urine spectra grouped together estrus samples from different years. These results open a new avenue for using water structure as a molecular mirror for fast estrus detection.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Regression analysis, Cluster analysis, Water, Infrared spectroscopy, Infrared, Near infrared spectroscopy, Giant Panda


Beam profiles are commonly measured with complementary metal oxide semiconductors (CMOS) or charge coupled devices (CCD). The devices are fast and reliable but expensive. By making use of the fact that the Bayer-filter in commercial webcams is transparent in the near infra-red (>800 nm) and their CCD chips are sensitive up to about 1100 nm, we demonstrate a cheap and simple way to measure laser beam profiles with a resolution down to around ±1 μm, which is close to the resolution of the knife-edge technique.

Concepts: Electron, Light, Laser, Oxide, CMOS, Infrared, Light beam, Laser beam profiler


Chlorophyll a fluorometry has long been used as a method to study phytoplankton in the ocean. In situ fluorometry is used frequently in oceanography to provide depth-resolved estimates of phytoplankton biomass. However, the high price of commercially manufactured in situ fluorometers has made them unavailable to some individuals and institutions. Presented here is an investigation into building an in situ fluorometer using low cost electronics. The goal was to construct an easily reproducible in situ fluorometer from simple and widely available electronic components. The simplicity and modest cost of the sensor makes it valuable to students and professionals alike. Open source sharing of architecture and software will allow students to reconstruct and customize the sensor on a small budget. Research applications that require numerous in situ fluorometers or expendable fluorometers can also benefit from this study. The sensor costs US$150.00 and can be constructed with little to no previous experience. The sensor uses a blue LED to excite chlorophyll a and measures fluorescence using a silicon photodiode. The sensor is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller that also serves as a data logger.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Fluorescence spectroscopy, Diode, Ocean, Transducer, Infrared, Pulse oximeter, Fluorometer


Terahertz (THz) technology has emerged for biomedical applications such as scanning, molecular spectroscopy, and medical imaging. Although a thorough assessment to predict potential concerns has to precede before practical utilization of THz source, the biological effect of THz radiation is not yet fully understood with scant related investigations. Here, we applied a femtosecond-terahertz (fs-THz) pulse to mouse skin to evaluate non-thermal effects of THz radiation. Analysis of the genome-wide expression profile in fs-THz-irradiated skin indicated that wound responses were predominantly mediated by transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling pathways. We validated NFκB1- and Smad3/4-mediated transcriptional activation in fs-THz-irradiated skin by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Repeated fs-THz radiation delayed the closure of mouse skin punch wounds due to up-regulation of TGF-β. These findings suggest that fs-THz radiation initiate a wound-like signal in skin with increased expression of TGF-β and activation of its downstream target genes, which perturbs the wound healing process in vivo.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Wound healing, Healing, Electromagnetic spectrum, Wound, Infrared, Chronic wound


A new approach is presented for analysis of microplastics in environmental samples, based on selective fluorescent staining using Nile Red (NR), followed by density-based extraction and filtration. The dye adsorbs onto plastic surfaces and renders them fluorescent when irradiated with blue light. Fluorescence emission is detected using simple photography through an orange filter. Image-analysis allows fluorescent particles to be identified and counted. Magnified images can be recorded and tiled to cover the whole filter area, allowing particles down to a few micrometres to be detected. The solvatochromic nature of Nile Red also offers the possibility of plastic categorisation based on surface polarity characteristics of identified particles. This article details the development of this staining method and its initial cross-validation by comparison with infrared (IR) microscopy. Microplastics of different sizes could be detected and counted in marine sediment samples. The fluorescence staining identified the same particles as those found by scanning a filter area with IR-microscopy.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Spectroscopy, Ultraviolet, Molecular biology, Light, Dyes, Ethidium bromide, Infrared


We report on oxygenation changes noninvasively recorded by multichannel continuous-wave near infrared spectroscopy (CW-NIRS) during endovascular neuroradiologic interventions requiring temporary balloon occlusion of arteries supplying the cerebral circulation. Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) provides reference data on the site, timing, and effectiveness of the flow stagnation as well as on the amount and direction of collateral circulation. This setting allows us to relate CW-NIRS findings to brain specific perfusion changes. We focused our analysis on the transition from normal perfusion to vessel occlusion, i.e., before hypoxia becomes clinically apparent. The localization of the maximal response correlated either with the core (occlusion of the middle cerebral artery) or with the watershed areas (occlusion of the internal carotid artery) of the respective vascular territories. In one patient with clinically and angiographically confirmed insufficient collateral flow during carotid artery occlusion, the total hemoglobin concentration became significantly asymmetric, with decreased values in the ipsilateral watershed area and contralaterally increased values. Multichannel CW-NIRS monitoring might serve as an objective and early predictive marker of critical perfusion changes during interventions-to prevent hypoxic damage of the brain. It also might provide valuable human reference data on oxygenation changes as they typically occur during acute stroke.Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism advance online publication, 4 December 2013; doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2013.207.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Blood, Middle cerebral artery, Internal carotid artery, Common carotid artery, Anterior cerebral artery, Infrared, Digital subtraction angiography


The Atacama Desert has been pointed out as one of the places on earth where the highest surface irradiance may occur. This area is characterized by its high altitude, prevalent cloudless conditions and relatively low columns of ozone and water vapor. Aimed at the characterization of the solar spectrum in the Atacama Desert, we carried out in February-March 2015 ground-based measurements of the spectral irradiance (from the ultraviolet to the near infrared) at seven locations that ranged from the city of Antofagasta (on the southern pacific coastline) to the Chajnantor Plateau (5,100 m altitude). Our spectral measurements allowed us to retrieve the total ozone column, the precipitable water, and the aerosol properties at each location. We found that changes in these parameters, as well as the shorter optical path length at high-altitude locations, lead to significant increases in the surface irradiance with the altitude. Our measurements show that, in the range 0-5100 m altitude, surface irradiance increases with the altitude by about 27% in the infrared range, 6% in the visible range, and 20% in the ultraviolet range. Spectral measurements carried out at the Izaña Observatory (Tenerife, Spain), in Hannover (Germany) and in Santiago (Chile), were used for further comparisons.

Concepts: Ultraviolet, Earth, Sun, Infrared, Visible spectrum, Chile, Atacama Desert, Desert


Conventional arthroscopic evaluation of articular cartilage is subjective and poorly reproducible. Therefore, implementation of quantitative diagnostic techniques, such as near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and optical coherence tomography (OCT), is essential. Locations (n = 44) with various cartilage conditions were selected from mature equine fetlock joints (n = 5). These locations and their surroundings were measured with NIRS and OCT (n = 530). As a reference, cartilage proteoglycan (PG) and collagen contents, and collagen network organization were determined using quantitative microscopy. Additionally, lesion severity visualized in OCT images was graded with an automatic algorithm according to International Cartilage Research Society (ICRS) scoring system. Artificial neural network with variable selection was then employed to predict cartilage composition in the superficial and deep zones from NIRS data, and the performance of two models, generalized (including all samples) and condition-specific models (based on ICRS-grades), was compared. Spectral data correlated significantly (p < 0.002) with PG and collagen contents, and collagen orientation in the superficial and deep zones. The combination of NIRS and OCT provided the most reliable outcome, with condition-specific models having lower prediction errors (9.2%) compared to generalized models (10.4%). Therefore, the results highlight the potential of combining both modalities for comprehensive evaluation of cartilage during arthroscopy.

Concepts: Scientific method, Spectroscopy, Bone, Cartilage, Optical coherence tomography, Infrared spectroscopy, Infrared, Near infrared spectroscopy


Diffraction is the ultimate limit at which details of objects can be resolved in conventional optical spectroscopy and imaging systems. In the THz spectral range, spectroscopy systems increasingly rely on ultra-broadband radiation (extending over more 5 octaves) making a great challenge to reach resolution limited by diffraction. Here, we propose an original easy-to-implement wavefront manipulation concept to achieve ultrabroadband THz spectroscopy system with diffraction-limited resolution. Applying this concept to a large-area photoconductive emitter, we demonstrate diffraction-limited ultra-broadband spectroscopy system up to 14.5 THz with a dynamic range of 10(3). The strong focusing of ultrabroadband THz radiation provided by our approach is essential for investigating single micrometer-scale objects such as graphene flakes or living cells, and besides for achieving intense ultra-broadband THz electric fields.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Diffraction, Optics, Laser, Electromagnetic spectrum, Infrared, Terahertz technology, Terahertz spectroscopy


Low efficiency of the standard THz TDS method of the detection and identification of substances based on a comparison of the spectrum for the signal under investigation with a standard signal spectrum is demonstrated using the physical experiments conducted under real conditions with a thick paper bag as well as with Si-based semiconductors under laboratory conditions. In fact, standard THz spectroscopy leads to false detection of hazardous substances in neutral samples, which do not contain them. This disadvantage of the THz TDS method can be overcome by using time-dependent THz pulse spectrum analysis. For a quality assessment of the standard substance spectral features presence in the signal under analysis, one may use time-dependent integral correlation criteria.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Epistemology, Ontology, The Signal, Spectrum, Infrared, Terahertz spectroscopy, Bag