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Concept: Spectroscopy

265

Evidence of prehistoric dentistry has been limited to a few cases, the most ancient dating back to the Neolithic. Here we report a 6500-year-old human mandible from Slovenia whose left canine crown bears the traces of a filling with beeswax. The use of different analytical techniques, including synchrotron radiation computed micro-tomography (micro-CT), Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dating, Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), has shown that the exposed area of dentine resulting from occlusal wear and the upper part of a vertical crack affecting enamel and dentin tissues were filled with beeswax shortly before or after the individual’s death. If the filling was done when the person was still alive, the intervention was likely aimed to relieve tooth sensitivity derived from either exposed dentine and/or the pain resulting from chewing on a cracked tooth: this would provide the earliest known direct evidence of therapeutic-palliative dental filling.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Mass spectrometry, Teeth, Dental caries, Scanning electron microscope, Tooth enamel, Dentin

242

Whether olfaction recognizes odorants by their shape, their molecular vibrations, or both remains an open and controversial question. A convenient way to address it is to test for odor character differences between deuterated and undeuterated odorant isotopomers, since these have identical ground-state conformations but different vibrational modes. In a previous paper (Franco et al. (2011) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108:9, 3797-802) we showed that fruit flies can recognize the presence of deuterium in odorants by a vibrational mechanism. Here we address the question of whether humans too can distinguish deuterated and undeuterated odorants. A previous report (Keller and Vosshall (2004) Nat Neurosci 7:4, 337-8) indicated that naive subjects are incapable of distinguishing acetophenone and d-8 acetophenone. Here we confirm and extend those results to trained subjects and gas-chromatography [GC]-pure odorants. However, we also show that subjects easily distinguish deuterated and undeuterated musk odorants purified to GC-pure standard. These results are consistent with a vibrational component in human olfaction.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Olfaction, Perfume, Odor, Flavor, Aroma compound, Distinguish, Body odor

206

Recent simulations have indicated that vinyl cyanide is the best candidate molecule for the formation of cell membranes/vesicle structures in Titan’s hydrocarbon-rich lakes and seas. Although the existence of vinyl cyanide (C2H3CN) on Titan was previously inferred using Cassini mass spectrometry, a definitive detection has been lacking until now. We report the first spectroscopic detection of vinyl cyanide in Titan’s atmosphere, obtained using archival data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), collected from February to May 2014. We detect the three strongest rotational lines of C2H3CN in the frequency range of 230 to 232 GHz, each with >4σ confidence. Radiative transfer modeling suggests that most of the C2H3CN emission originates at altitudes of ≳200 km, in agreement with recent photochemical models. The vertical column densities implied by our best-fitting models lie in the range of 3.7 × 10(13) to 1.4 × 10(14) cm(-2). The corresponding production rate of vinyl cyanide and its saturation mole fraction imply the availability of sufficient dissolved material to form ~10(7) cell membranes/cm(3) in Titan’s sea Ligeia Mare.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Electromagnetic radiation, Physical chemistry, Model, Frequency, Sea, Titan, Extraterrestrial life

171

Raman microspectroscopy provides the means to obtain local orientations on polycrystalline materials at the submicrometer level. The present work demonstrates how orientation-distribution maps composed of Raman intensity distributions can be acquired on large areas of several hundreds of square micrometers. A polycrystalline CuInSe2 thin film was used as a model system. The orientation distributions are evidenced by corresponding measurements using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD) on the same identical specimen positions. The quantitative, local orientation information obtained by means of EBSD was used to calculate the theoretical Raman intensities for specific grain orientations, which agree well with the experimental values. The presented approach establishes new horizons for Raman microspectroscopy as a tool for quantitative, microstructural analysis at submicrometer resolution.

Concepts: Scientific method, Electron, Spectroscopy, Diffraction, Photon, Raman spectroscopy, Electron diffraction, Electron backscatter diffraction

171

This letter describes the use of vertically aligned carbon nanotubes (CNT)-based arrays with estimated 2-nm thick cobalt (Co) nanoparticles deposited inside individual tubes to unravel the possibility of using the unique templates for ultra-high-density low-energy 3-D nano-magneto-electronic devices. The presence of oriented 2-nm thick Co layers within individual nanotubes in the CNT-based 3-D matrix is confirmed through VSM measurements as well as an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS).

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Carbon, Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy

171

Cu2O p-type semiconductor hollow porous microspheres have been prepared by using a simple soft-template method at room temperature. The morphology of as-synthesized samples is hollow spherical structures with the diameter ranging from 200 to 500 nm, and the surfaces of the spheres are rough, porous and with lots of channels and folds. The photocatalytic activity of degradation of methyl orange (MO) under visible light irradiation was investigated by UV-visible spectroscopy. The results show that the hollow porous Cu2O particles were uniform in diameters and have an excellent ability in visible light-induced degradation of MO. Meanwhile, the growth mechanism of the prepared Cu2O was also analyzed. We find that sodium dodecyl sulfate acted the role of soft templates in the synthesis process. The hollow porous structure was not only sensitive to the soft template but also to the amount of reagents.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Semiconductor, Visible spectrum, Semiconductors, P-type semiconductor, N-type semiconductor

170

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

170

Ordered CuIn(1 - x)GaxSe2 (CIGS) nanopore films were prepared by one-step electrodeposition based on porous anodized aluminum oxide templates. The as-grown film shows a highly ordered morphology that reproduces the surface pattern of the substrate. Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction pattern show that CIGS nanopore films had ideal chalcopyrite crystallization. Energy dispersive spectroscopy reveals the Cu-Se phases firstly formed in initial stage of growth. Then, indium and gallium were incorporated in the nanopore films in succession. Cu-Se phase is most likely to act as a growth promoter in the growth progress of CIGS nanopore films. Due to the high surface area and porous structure, this kind of CIGS films could have potential application in light-trapping CIGS solar cells and photo electrochemical water splitting.

Concepts: DNA, Spectroscopy, Diffraction, X-ray, Electromagnetic radiation, Hydrogen, X-ray crystallography, Copper indium gallium selenide

169

Large arrays of multifunctional rolled-up semiconductors can be mass produced with precisely controlled size and composition, making them of great technological interest for micro- and nano-scale device fabrication. The microtube behavior at different temperatures is a key factor towards further engineering their functionality, as well as for characterizing strain, defects, and temperature-dependent properties of the structures. For this purpose, we probe optical phonons of GaAs/InGaAs rolled-up microtubes using Raman spectroscopy on defect-rich (faulty) and defect-free microtubes. The microtubes are fabricated by selectively etching an AlAs sacrificial layer in order to release the strained InGaAs/GaAs bilayer, all grown by molecular beam epitaxy. Pristine microtubes show homogeneity of the GaAs and InGaAs peak positions and intensities along the tube, which indicates a defect-free rolling up process, while for a cone-like microtube, a downward shift of the GaAs LO phonon peak along the cone is observed. Formation of other type of defects, including partially unfolded microtubes, can also be related to a high Raman intensity of the TO phonon in GaAs. We argue that the appearance of the TO phonon mode is a consequence of further relaxation of the selection rules due to the defects on the tubes, which makes this phonon useful for failure detection/prediction in such rolled up systems. In order to systematically characterize the temperature stability of the rolled up microtubes, Raman spectra were acquired as a function of sample temperature up to 300[degree sign]C. The reversibility of the changes in the Raman spectra of the tubes within this temperature range is demonstrated.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Thermodynamics, Gallium arsenide, Raman spectroscopy, Molecular beam epitaxy, Raman scattering, Phonon, The Tubes

169

Wide wavelength ranges of light localization and scattering characteristics can be attributed to shape-dependent longitude surface plasmon resonance in complicated nanostructures. We have studied this phenomenon by spectroscopic measurement and a three-dimensional numerical simulation, for the first time, on the high-density branched silver nanowires and nanomeshworks at room temperature. These nanostructures were fabricated with simple light-induced colloidal method. In the range from the visible to the near-infrared wavelengths, light has been found effectively trapped in those trapping sites which were randomly distributed at the corners, the branches, and the junctions of the nanostructures in those nanostructures in three dimensions. The broadened bandwidth electromagnetic field enhancement property makes these branched nanostructures useful in optical processing and photovoltaic applications.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Electromagnetism, Quantum mechanics, Fundamental physics concepts, Light, Electromagnetic radiation, Extraordinary optical transmission, Visible spectrum