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IR spectroscopy is a widely used and versatile method for analysis at the molecular scale. In fact, single molecular species are identified, and their amount quantified, by specific vibrational spectra with several characteristic absorption bands in the mid-IR range.
The high information content of such spectra lends itself to the operation of databases and the "fingerprint" approach especially to organic and biological material identification, as well as condensed matter studies.
IR Microspectroscopy allows not only molecular identification but also spatial resolution, which is necessary for the understanding of the physical-chemical properties of the vast range of materials and surfaces that are organised at a microstructural level. These include biomedical samples like tissue sections or single cells that can be mapped in plots showing molecular composition versus position.
The high brightness and small spot size available using a synchrotron light source make experiments possible at the highest spatial resolution and over a wide spectral range spanning from from hard X-rays to the far-IR. In particular, the combination of IR with X-ray microspectroscopy techniques at the same SR facility easily allows the complementary characterization of samples both at molecular and atomic levels.
High pressure analysis of pharmaceutical products, analysis and developmentof novel catalysts, studies of advanced materials, cancer screening and medical diagnostics, chemical imaging of industrially important polymer structures, biomineralisation, studies of ancient artefacts, analysing processed food products and investigating airborne and waterborne pollutants.
Approximately 20 million people worldwide suffer from cancer which is one of the main causes of death. A definitive diagnosis is not always possible from a biopsy as some early stage abnormal cells cannot be detected using conventional methods. Understanding the micro-biological changes leading to the onset of these diseases is vital to develop methods for early diagnosis and new treatments.Read more...
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