Monthly Archives: March 2012

High Efficiency, Quantitative Dioxins Screening at the Level of Interest in Feed and Food using Advanced GC-MS/MS (Mass Spectrometry)

The largest source of human dioxin exposure comes though dietary intake of food of animal origin. Consequently, there are extensive monitoring programs in place to identify potential contamination entering into the food chain. This application note describes the use of the Thermo Scientific TSQ Quantum XLS Ultra GC-MS/MS as applied to high efficiency screening of PCDDs/PCDFs in feed and food samples at the levels of interest and the level of agreement with “gold standard” confirmatory analysis using GC-HRMS (Thermo Scientific DFS)


Determination of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters in Salmon Oil Using Automated Sample Preparation
Salmon oil is an excellent source of polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids. The two main fatty acids EPA and DHA have been identified as important health factors and are correlated with a normal function of the heart. This application note demonstrates the use of the Agilent 7696A Sample Prep WorkBench for derivatization and subsequent determination of both EPA and DHA from salmon oil capsules.


Analysis of Sugar Alcohol Excipients in Pharmaceuticals Using Rezex IEX HPLC Columns
Tablet formulations of most major drug products contain significant amounts of excipients in their formulations. Rezex ion exclusion HPLC columns are the solution for several published USP methodologies. The Rezex RPM (Pb+2) and RCM/RCU (Ca+2) phases will give you the selectivity needed while the short Rezex RPM 100 x 7.8 mm columns will help to increase throughput.


…………..Current European Union regulations permit the use of GC-MS/MS and bioassay techniques for screening dioxins and dioxin-like PCBs at the level of interest in feed and food samples.2 GC coupled with triple quadrupole MS is particularly suitable screening technique as isotope dilution is retained as well as the high selectivity of the MS/MS experiment……..



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Ambient Kelvin Probe


Base and System Packages Description

KP Technology Kelvin probes are digital systems, i.e. the Kelvin probe frequency, amplitude of

oscillation, mean spacing, backing potential and data acquisition parameters can be set by the

user. Further this is an off-null system, i.e. the work function is calculated using 2 or more signal

peak-to-peak measurements performed at backing potentials on either side of balance. Thus

the actual Kelvin probe signal is visible at all times during measurement. In contrast null-based

detection systems require a phase sensitive detector and the Kelvin probe signal is nulled


The ambient Kelvin probe comes complete with ambient head unit, tip preamplifier, driving

electronics, data acquisition system, cables and manual. Our Systems include the PC host

computer, optical mounts based upon a 250 x 250 (mm) or 450 x 450 mm base. The KP head

unit is positioned vertical above the sample holder can can be manually translated 25.4 mm

normal to the specimen. Either KP020 or SKP5050 system can be upgraded to include the

LE450 Faraday Enclosure or RHC020 Relative Humidity enclosure. Our spectroscopy upgrade

(SPS030/040) is suitable for studying light sensitive specimens including semiconductors and

solar cells.

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Surface plasmon resonance SPR spectroscopy

Surface plasmon resonance SPR spectroscopy has become a valuable tool for enabling real-time, label free detection of biomolecular interactions in both singular and multiplexed formats. This technique exploits the sensitivity of surface plasmons to changes in the refractive index RI occurring at a metal (typicallz gold or silver) – dielectric interface and has found utility in applications ranging from fundamental studies of the thermodynamics and kinetics of biomolecular interactions to medical diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and food safety.

Propagating surface plasmon polaritons SPPs and localized surface plasmon resonances LSPRs are two types of SPRs used for sensing. SPPs can be excited by light at a metal-dielectric interface using prism, waveguide, or grating couplers. These plasmons propagate along a metal-dielectric interface with an electric field that decays exponentially over hundreds of nanometers into the dielectric. LSPRs are nonpropagating resonances that can be directly excited by light on nanostructured metals, such as nanoparticles and around nanoholes and nanowells in metal films, and have an associated electric field that decays exponentiallt from the surface over tens of nanometers. The decay lengths of the electric fields associated with SPPs and LSPRs impact the linearity and surface sensitivity of techniques that utilize them for sensing.

Two types of plasmonic crystals (quasi 3D and full 3D) is described in this paper which form by soft nanoimprint lithography that enable plasmonic imaging of binding events with micrometer spatial resolution and submonolayer sensitivity in a normal incidence transmission configuration using a common optical microscope and low cost charge coupled device CCD camera. This simple collinear transmission configuration is robust and does not require cumbersome optics or alignment to a specific contrast angle, which allows the devices to be easily incorporated into microfluidic systems, well plates, or portable devices. These crystals exhibit complex optical respnses and support Bloch-wave SPPs (BW-SPPs, the periodic analogue of SPPs), LSPRs, related diffractive effects such as Wood anomalies (WAs), and combinations of these resonant and diffractive phenomena……..

Matthew E Stewart et al, Multispectral Thin film biosensing and quantitative imaging using 3D plasmonic, J Anal Chem, 2009, pp 5980-89

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Understanding Emerging Technologies for Business Actors


Nature and environment are exhausted from macro policies that endorse overflow of population to boost economic growth. Nanotechnology allows a different kind of growth, one that finds sustainable solutions to address modern life issues and to revise past faulty behaviour.  Nanotechnology created momentum to address constraints for future growth free from over consumption and over consummation – by creating world of opportunities at the bottom, new competitive advantages, and fresh markets. These new opportunities translate into a road map that directs us to move away from high carbon emission energy into gradual maturation of businesses fuelled by clean technologies.


Today’s most pressing issues to deal with are ageing population, care taking, pandemics and most difficult task of maintaining security, all find sustainable solutions with nanotechnogies and nano-engineered materials. These are innovative ways to improve our way of life with fewer resources and equally less pollution.


How care is handled is one other important societal issue. Big questions about who is going to pay and where the work force is coming from in an ageing population, for caring, sensing, rapid access to information, etc all find smart solutions.   Controlled molecular self-assembly are installed in sensors, metrology devices, and quantum computing. These are alternatives to traditional ways of caring, mobility and communication with an ageing and often technology avert population. Possibilities are endless, examples are chip based sensors for remote caring and undisturbed monitoring, ease of use, with rapid response and much lower cost. Caring devices with familiar shapes are mounted on mobile phones or carried by elderly with minimum visibility.


Nevertheless, efficient use of energy is most compelling driver of nanotechnologies, creating atomically functional nanosystems, smart materials, instrumentation, catalysts, etc.  Fuel cell technology is benefiting from possibilities afforded by thin film techniques. Telecommunication and IT that are in themselves consuming 2% of the world’s energy are other targets for optimized activities and have replaced traditional ways of moving of materials and persons.  Concerns over energy and environmental degradation find answers with  disruptive technologies. It is widely accepted that non-carbon based technology development is forthcoming, just as we shifted from coal to oil. New green production system has to be regulated, but only to the level not to bring dead lock to the development of green technology.


To address security issues, nanotechnology based applications have exploited new ideas by imaging in terahertz domain[1], the type of radiation that is capable of travelling through opaque materials in ambient condition. [2] Below surface of objects are easily visualised without the need for unpacking or any othe rtime consuming investigation, by terahertz sensing technique combined with surface plasmon polaritons that make use of pulsed terahertz radiation[3] and [4].


In order for disruptive technologies to enter market, government support and financial stimulation to overcome initial resistance to change are essential. There is greater role defined for investors with renewable energies reaching competitive thresholds through carbon tax or labelling. The business community who have invested in fossil fuel economy are now main investors of alternative energy such as hydrogen or solar energies  as they explore the potential and take advantage of new market opportunities. These new markets have equally engaged other actors who pursue public benefit to do good for their community through innovative businesses.


Monitoring environmental pollution is one key factor for nanotechnologies capable of detecting minute changes, with growing interest over ecological footprinting. Photonics and plastic electronics technologies[5] are sustainable solutions for reducing energy consumption and accurately measuring pollutive species, and carbon dioxide emission from diverse sources.


Range of recyclable, thin, light packaging materials for food and pharmaceutical packaging bring material use to the minimum. They use arrays of nanocoating with high detection sensitivity that allows rapid identification of contaminants. Trade, transportation, insurance are areas that are revolutionized by smart packaging.


Nano-enable functionality are already applied for range of needs in food, such as improving antimicrobial performance, prolonged shelf life and facilitate recycling. Future needs are largely unexplored in food areas.


At present nearly a third of the world’s energy consumption and 36 per cent of CO2 emissions are attributable to manufacturing industries.[6] New form of manufacturing that focus on bottom-up, and atomic precision production system will eventually replace top down approach and are growing fast. Nanotechnology and nanomaterials used in technological innovations offer range of best practices in control for hazard materials by-products of industries with adverse impacts on the environment.


Carbon dioxide activation, capture, storage and conversion into chemicals for use in industry and development of alternative energy are benefiting from catalytic properties of nanomaterials that result in decrease of carbon loading in atmosphere. Carbon capture made possible in the process of capturing carbon under mild conditions and conversion of (CO2) to methanol for use as fuel or in industry.[7]


In water industry nanofiltration membranes manufactured with new nanostructured materials proved highly efficient, and practical. Recent production of nanocomposites of polymer and inorganic materials allowed for control over the materials’ pore size, selectivity, and other physical characteristics. The chemical processes that occur within the pores upon contact with contaminants are controlled as well.


Enzymatic properties such as hydrogenase to convert energies are under investigation as alternatives. Studies show that catalytic properties of nanomaterials with control over shapes and sizes at nanoscale outperform conventional catalysts to a great extent. They are used for higher efficiency in chemistry, and energy production in various forms of photocatalysis, reforming of bio-fuels, cleaner catalytic combustion, etc. Range of electro catalysts are produced with high performance. Platinum nanowires, or nanocrystals doped with cobalt atoms show several order of magnitude enhancement of catalytic activity.


Batteries turned to  highly efficient devices through increase of capacity and revised transport properties. Lithium batteries use silicon nanowires with ability for higher storage of lithium that increase energy density on the anode while reducing battery size and weight.


Range of molecular electronic materials MEMs are used in products such as Laser, display, datacomm, telecomm, solar cell, FET, photodiode, amplifier, and lighting with applications in panels, lamps, wallpaper, blinds, curtains, window panes, workspace screens, safety clothing, and in areas less common like photodynamic therapy. Manipulations of functional metal oxide nanomaterials, such as titanium dioxide TiO2, molybdenum trioxide MoO3 and tungsten trioxide WO3 have wide applications in sensors.


The use of engineered nanoparticles such as quantum-dots in fabrication of light bulbs, light emitting diodes LEDs, using UV illuminated nanocrystals has increased their lifetime as much as 15 years. Currently used light bulbs only convert approximately 5% of the electrical energy into light. Most recent LED bulbs are fabricated to wirelessly stream sounds from the computer or CD player. Lithium ion batteries and fuel cells are produced much cheaper with higher performance.


New ideas are worked out for manufacturing Biomimetic waterproof clothing, whilst the outer layer consists of simple but effective windproof polyester the lining is where all the biomimetic magic are stored.


Micro contact printing, stamps and inks made by polymer composites of nanomaterials such as synthetic polymers, dendrimers, proteins and DNA,  attached covalently on reactive surfaces are developed resulting in hydrophilic/ hydrophobic patterns that have increased applications in surface coatings for electronic and biotechnological applications such as, thin film transistors, light emitting devices LEDs, MEMs, biosensors, microarrays  solar cells, etc.[8]


At present solar cells can convert around 20% of energy of sun light with gradual improvement of efficiency. Photovoltaics are fabricated using IT expertise in chip manufacturing and thin film technology and depositing layers of nano materials with unprecedented capacity to convert sunlight into electricity.
















Never underestimate how little he understands about Technologies


(Fiona Reid, What Venture Capitalists look for..Top five criteria; Oxford Univ)







The idea to create incentives for developing businesses that are sensitive to environment and nature is fascinating. Manufacturers in far away places are motivated to step in the direction of clean techniques, rushing to become next green hope only because they understood this is what their customers in the other side of the world are after. Large manufacturers in developing countries who may not be aware of environmental issues are competing fiercely with each other to get LEED certification only to increase marketability and improve their market share.


Nanotechnology is recognised as a stepping stone to strengthen up advantages of developed economies having to deal with scarce resources, and fierce competitions. Nevertheless their development demand dynamic adaptable SMEs around every discipline to sustain technological competitiveness. Nanotechnology has the potential to shift economic power through SMEs. The story of Intel chips market entry that successfully competed with much sophisticated Motorola chips only because of market readiness is good example. Entering into market at the right time was the key, at a time when IBM was not prepared, and in need of innovation in PC market.


University spin-offs are perfect examples of adaptive SMEs. UK government investment in university start ups showed higher return compared to other investment options such as housing, etc.  The £60m University Challenge Fund for universities in 2000, created 378 spin out companies out of total investment in 835 lab projects. The scheme was marked to have outperformed other government initiatives, while creating jobs for additional 1,985 people.[9] Although, research study indicates that “7 out of10 small businesses seek advice but only 1/10 satisfied with service from government-funded programmes.”(FSB ‘Barriers to Survival & Growth’ report)


Following the announcement from the Dept of Industry, Universities and Skills DIUS, to allocate £ 1 billion fund available for developing R&D programmes Nanoscience, strengthen its authority and control over market. In the period between 1997-2005 world wide investment in nanotechnogies R&D programmes have increased more than 10 folds from 432 to 4.2 billion dollars. In 2006 alone global government spending on nanotechnologies increased to over 6 billion dollars. Other initiatives from corporations are in addition to this account. Europe in the FP7 maintains its outstanding role in development of nanotechnology programmes.


Similarly in the US increasing investment in R&D by the government showed a rising budget-curve from $ 270 m in 2001 to $ 1.4 billion in grant for nanotech research projects in 2008. More than 1500 companies were numbered to be involved in producing nanomaterials with an annual growth rate of 25%, which was accounted over $ 40 Billions (Roco 2007). The global market for nanotechnology-products reached to $147 billion in 2007. Veeco one of the major producers of metrology devices, Atomic Force Microscopy, announced 10,000 installation of this type of instrument (Veeco May 2010). Elsewhere, EU investment summed up to $ 1.6 billion for the year 2008.


Nanotechnology disruptive impact on industry is much broader compared to previous industrial change scenarios, as they touch across range of industries. DTI has predicted that manufactured products using nanomaterials are to reach $ 2.6 trillion by 2014. Economic forecast is that Nanotechnologies create 2 million jobs for the skilled labour by 2015.


The industrial landscape is changing rapidly by growing number of research orgs, universities and firms engaged in nanotechnology. In the US over 1200 universities are offering educational curriculum.  Multidisciplinary education is key factor in harnessing the potentials of novel technologies in all areas.  Industries are suffering from shortages of skilled researchers, which should raise awareness among policy makers and educational institutions that training skilled researcher is crucial. [10]


To this end, universities should turn creative and adaptable in preparing new training and incentive systems for new generation of nanotechnologists. There is a lot to learn from history and our past experiences. In 1964-7, determination of three X-ray crystal structures was sufficient to obtain a PhD from Oxford University. Today, three crystal structures are registered every single day. (Amber Thompson, Oxford)


The priority is in preparation and training the work force required for exploiting the fresh opportunities, at this critical time of global economic changes, when new rules and regulations taking shapes. Unpredicted consequences are managed, risks are quantified, and monopolies are formed by patents to safeguard innovation, and incentivise scientists.






Social implications of technology-change have been unpredictable throughout the history.  Social impacts of emerging technologies are much broader, far-reaching, and rapidly changing. They go far beyond business, government, environment, health, and ethics. Emerging technologies induce interactions among apparently unrelated technologies creating cascade of technological development.  Great importance has been given to inclusion of social impacts into the training curriculum of nanotechnologists, new researchers and new business actors.


Understanding the risks and benefits of disruptive technologies will not look like anything to the previous technology assessments. This requires greater participation and information exchange with the public. Preparing for the societal impacts to better influence the implications of technology changes has high priority for business development. When laser was first invented it was described as a death ray, but today laser is part of our daily life in optical fibres, dental repairs, printing documents, read and write DVDs, cut metal and tools, etc.


Research results are clear evidence that materials’ quality at nanoscale improve and devices show higher efficiency and performance than the equivalent products. While their applications have to be materialized in real time and out of laboratories. If novel-technologies are not applied in the real scenario, unexpected benefits and risks remain unknown. Structural and phase properties of nanowires are measured by experimental techniques, yet theoretical investigations are still unknown.


Technological innovations can not be materialized without in-situ applications and secure funds for prototyping and pilot projects on smaller scale. This is crucial to provide information for adaptation and appropriate time for assessing unexpected consequences.  UK financial sector has to insist on encouraging strategic alliance between businesses, academia and technologists to support UK’s innovation and competitiveness.


Policy makers have to deal with emerging uncertainties due to increased information and knowledge, but also increasing risks and governance challenges. A firm and responsible role should follow policy dialogues that explain “uncertainties” to the public and pressure groups. Increasing unexpected consequences have to be translated to public for informed policy making.


Technology assessment and accounting of nano-fabrication has to deal with arrays of factors to assess value creation of nanotechnogies. Evaluation generates foresight and useful information that facilitates decision making for cost effective products. Nonetheless, broader engagements and education are required to harness added value of technology potentials. There are disagreements over evaluation of products using nanomaterials over bringing into the account the final product or only nanomaterials used in fabrication. Despite the uncertainty around evaluation of products, analysts all agree on one thing; that growth of the nanotechnology industry will be high, it is estimated to grow over 10-25 percent per annum – this is a growth scale which is hard to hold back by uncertainty.


Although, development of emerging technologies takes much longer and costs 10 times of research costs,[11] but it is clear that the time for investment is now before areas rip for advancement are seized and competitive edges are crossed. Indicators [12] show that Nanotechnology found its momentum. The momentum is certainly there for ideas and research results to become a reality, waiting in laboratories for commercialization.[13]





Nasrin Azad-McGuire







Myhra S, Riviere J C, Handbook of surface and interface analysis: methods for problem-solving, Science, 968 pages


Owens F J, Poole C P, The physics and chemistry of nanosolids, Wiley, 539 pages, 2008


Kelsall R, Hamley I, Geoghegan M, Nanoscale science and technology, Wiley, 456 pages, 2008


Canton, J., 2004 ‘Designing the future – NBIC technologies and human performance’, Coevolution of Human Potential and Converging Technologies, Vol 1013, pp. 186-198.


Goddard W et al, (2007), Handbook of Nanoscience, Engineering, and Technology, Taylor & Francis


Oxford future energy;


Andrews J, Jelley N, Energy Science: Principles, Technologies, and Impacts, OUP, 2009


Armstrong F, Blundell K, Energy..beyond oil, OUP, 2009



Early investments resources:





[1]          Tonouchi M, Cutting edge terahertz technology, Nature Photonics Vol 1, issue 97, pp 105 (2007)


[2]          Baker C, T Lo, WR Tribe, BE Cole, MK Hogbin, MC Kemp, Detection of concealed explosives at a distance using terahertz technology, Proc. IEEE, Vol 95, pp 1559 (2007)


[3]          Davies AG, Burnett AD, Fan WH, Linfield EH, Cunningham JE, Terahertz spectroscopy of explosives and drugs, Materials Today, Vol 11, pp 18-26 (2008)


[4]          Johnston Michael, Plasmonics: Superfocusing of Terahertz Waves, Nature Photonics, Vol 1, pp 14-15, (Jan 2007)


[6]             International Energy Agency 2007, Tracking Industrial Energy Efficiency and CO2 Emissions.

[7]             A. E. Ashley, A.L. Thompson, D.M.OHare, ‘Non-Metal-Mediated Homogeneous Hydrogenation of CO2 to CH3OH’ Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2009, 48, 1 – 6

[8]          T. Granlund, T. Nyberg, L. S. Roman, M. Svensson and O. Ingan€as, Adv. Mater., 2000, 12, 269–273

Tobias Kaufmann and Bart Jan Ravoo, Stamps, inks and substrates: polymers in microcontact printing, Polymer Chemistry, RSC publishing, 2010, 1, 371–387


[9]          Richard Tyler, University spin out fund proves a hit with scientists, Telegraph, 21 Dec 2009.


[11]       Dobson P, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, Oxford University, 2009

[13]       Moving from the R word, Busines and society, The Magazine of Said Business School, issue 16, page 14-15, winter 2009


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Excitons give unique bright colours to Armchair Nanotubes, the one-dimensional metals that have no band gap

Rice University researchers have figured out what gives armchair nanotubes their unique bright colors: hydrogen-like objects called excitons. Their findings appear in the online edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Armchair carbon nanotubes – so named for the “U”-shaped configuration of the atoms at their uncapped tips – are one-dimensional metals and have no band gap. This means electrons flow from one end to the other with little resistivity, the very property that may someday make armchair quantum wires possible.


KTN _Connect;jsessionid=A618D07EF3D4B6158736AA97F8D67640.MekushUdbew4


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New Technology reveals the degenration process that leads to Alzheimer’s – which could not be noticed before

McGill Researchers crack degenration process that leads to Alzheimer’s: New study points to possible new therapeutic approaches in treatment of AD

A research group led by Dr. A. Claudio Cuello of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, has uncovered a critical process in understanding the degeneration of brain cells sensitive to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that this discovery could help develop alternative AD therapies.

A breakdown in communication between the brain’s neurons is thought to contribute to the memory loss and cognitive failure seen in people with AD. The likely suspect is NGF (Nerve Growth Factor), a molecule responsible for generating signals that maintain healthy cholinergic neurons – a subset of brain cells that are particularly sensitive to AD – throughout a person’s lifetime. Oddly, scientists had never been able to find anything wrong with this molecule to explain the degeneration of cholinergic neurons in patients with AD.

This new study, however, has elucidated the process by which NGF is released in the brain, matures to an active form and is ultimately degraded. The researchers were also able to determine how this process is altered in AD. The group demonstrated that treatment of healthy adult rats with a drug that blocks the maturation of active NGF leads to AD-like losses of cholinergic functional units, which result in cognitive impairments. By contrast, when treated with a drug to prevent degradation of active NGF, the numbers of cholinergic contacts increased significantly.

Part of the difficulty in understanding this pathway has been due to the technical challenges associated with differentiating the active and inactive forms of NGF,” explained Dr. Simon Allard, the study’s lead author and a postdoctoral fellow at McGill. “Our proposed manipulations are different from existing therapies as they aim to protect neurons from degeneration.”

The authors suggest that these findings may lead to pharmacological treatments that could delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. “This discovery should help design alternative therapies,” said Dr. Cuello, a Charles E. Frosst / Merck Chair.

This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and an endowment from Alan Frosst and the Frosst family.


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Atom probe confirms the core shell structure of Ag nanoparticles as solid catalyst

Ag nanoparticles coated with a thin layer of Pd atoms can significantly enhance the production of H2 from formic acid at ambient temperature.

Formic acid (HCOOH) has great potential as an in situ source of hydrogen for fuel cells, because it offers high energy density, is non-toxic and can be safely handled in aqueous solution. So far, there has been a lack of solid catalysts that are sufficiently active and/or selective for hydrogen production from formic acid at room temperature. Here, we report that Ag nanoparticles coated with a thin layer of Pd atoms can significantly enhance the production of H2 from formic acid at ambient temperature. Atom probe tomography confirmed that the nanoparticles have a core–shell configuration, with the shell containing between 1 and 10 layers of Pd atoms. The Pd shell contains terrace sites and is electronically promoted by the Ag core, leading to significantly enhanced catalytic properties. Our nanocatalysts could be used in the development of micro polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells for portable devices and could also be applied in the promotion of other catalytic reactions under mild conditions.

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