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May 2021

WITec Paper Award 2021 recognizes three outstanding publications

Ulm, Germany  
May 6, 2021

Three scientific publications have been recognized by the WITec Paper Award, an annual competition among peer-reviewed articles from the previous year that feature results acquired with a WITec microscope. The exceptional quality of the 115 submitted publications made it particularly challenging to select only three winners. The Paper Awards for 2021 go to researchers from the UK, Turkey and the USA who performed Raman imaging measurements on zebrafish embryos, meteorites and jet engine thermal barrier coatings, respectively. WITec congratulates the winners and thanks all the participants.

  • GOLD: H. Høgset, C. C. Horgan, J. P. K. Armstrong, M. S. Bergholt, V. Torraca, Q. Chen, T. J. Keane, L. Bugeon, M. J. Dallman, S. Mostowy, M. M. Stevens (2020) In vivo biomolecular imaging of zebrafish embryos using confocal Raman spectroscopy. Nature Communications 11: 6172 www.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19827-1
  • SILVER: M. Yesiltas, M. Kaya, T. D. Glotch, R. Brunetto, A. Maturilli, J. Helbert, M. E. Özel (2020) Biconical reflectance, micro-Raman, and nano-FTIR spectroscopy of the Didim (H3-5) meteorite: Chemical content and molecular variations. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 55: 2404-2421 www.doi.org/10.1111/maps.13585
  • BRONZE: C. Barrett, Z. Stein, J. Hernandez, R. Naraparaju, U. Schulz, L. Tetard, S. Raghavan (2021) Detrimental effects of sand ingression in jet engine ceramic coatings captured with Raman-based 3D rendering. Journal of the European Ceramic Society 41: 1664-1671 (available online 2020) www.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2020.09.050

For a list of all previous Paper Award winners, please visit www.witec.de/paper-award.

The Paper Award GOLD: Raman imaging of zebrafish embryos

Zebrafish are well-established model organisms in the life sciences and are frequently used for studying embryonic development and various diseases. Håkon Høgset from Imperial College London (ICL), UK, receives the Gold Paper Award 2021 for demonstrating the versatility of confocal Raman imaging for the biomolecular characterization of zebrafish embryos. Together with his co-workers from ICL and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, he established that the distribution of various biomolecules such as lipids and proteins can be visualized in an embryo on different length scales. First, 3D Raman images of entire, several-millimeter-long zebrafish embryos demonstrated Raman imaging of an entire organism. Second, high-resolution Raman imaging revealed microscale features of tissue sections from dorsal muscle, tail and gut. Raman imaging was next used to detect clusters of mycobacterial infection in a zebrafish model for tuberculosis. Based on metabolic differences, Raman spectroscopy could even distinguish between infections arising from different strains. Lastly, time-lapse Raman imaging monitored molecular changes during wound response in living embryos over several hours. The authors expect that, “the ability to perform volumetric and in vivo imaging in unlabeled embryos should provide a host of new opportunities for zebrafish research that can readily complement existing fluorescence imaging techniques.”

The Paper Award SILVER: Chemical characterization of meteorites

From the chemical composition of meteorites, planetary scientists can learn a great deal about their parent bodies’ history. “Studying meteorites and their parent bodies helps us understand how our solar system formed and evolved,” says Mehmet Yesiltas from Kirklareli University, Turkey, winner of the Silver Paper Award 2021. His publication presents a detailed chemical analysis of the Didim meteorite, which he investigated together with his colleagues from research institutions in Turkey, the USA, France and Germany. The Didim meteorite (named after Didim, Turkey, where it fell in 2007) is a chondrite with a relatively rare and varied mineralogical composition, making it especially interesting. The authors investigated its chemical composition on different scales using three spectroscopic methods. Biconical reflectance spectroscopy was used for an initial large-scale assessment and revealed mainly anhydrous silicates. Raman imaging then allowed for a more precise characterization of the rock’s minerals, including feldspars, olivine and pyroxene, and their distributions on the micrometer scale. Also, aromatic hydrocarbons of different thermal metamorphic grades were shown to exist in close proximity within the meteorite. Non-destructive 3D Raman imaging showed that the carbonaceous matter was present beneath an olivine grain inside the meteorite, suggesting its extraterrestrial origin. Furthermore, nano-FTIR spectroscopy indicated that the mineralogical composition of the rock varied even on the sub-micrometer scale.

The Paper Award BRONZE: Thermochemical degradation of ceramic coatings

Jet engines are protected against their extremely high operating temperatures by thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). Ingression of molten calcium, magnesium and alumino-silicates (CMAS) into a TBC during flight causes severe damage to it and shortens the engine’s lifetime. Chance Barrett from the University of Central Florida (UCF), USA, wins the Bronze Paper Award 2021 for presenting 3D Raman imaging as a non-destructive method for analyzing the CMAS-induced degradation of TBCs, together with his co-workers from UCF and the German Aerospace Center. CMAS ingression causes a transition of the TBC to the monoclinic phase. The volume fraction of this phase therefore represents a measure of the degree of degradation and it can be quantified with Raman imaging. 3D Raman maps of TBCs visualized the degradation as a function of depth. The damage was less pronounced in the core of the columns that form the TBC than at their edges, because the gaps between the columns were more accessible. Additionally, time-dependent measurements showed that most of the damage occurred during the first hour of CMAS infiltration. The results were validated by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. To the authors’ knowledge, their study is the first to present a non-destructive 3D characterization of TBC degradation at high resolution. They postulate that, “This ability to quantitatively and non-destructively characterize degradation of CMAS infiltrated TBCs will accelerate development of degradation resistant coatings.”


Don’t miss your chance in the WITec Paper Award 2022

WITec invites scientists from all fields of application to participate in the Paper Award 2022 competition (www.witec.de/paper-award). Articles are eligible if they were published in 2021 in a peer-reviewed journal and feature results (at least partially) obtained with a WITec instrument. Submit your work as a PDF to papers@witec.de before January 31st, 2022. WITec is looking forward to receiving many outstanding publications again.

WITec PaperAward 2021 allWinners web

The winners of the WITec Paper Award 2021. From top to bottom: The Gold (© Håkon Høgset, Hybrid Technology Hub at the University of Oslo, Norway), Silver (© Mehmet Yesiltas, Kirklareli University, Turkey) and Bronze winning teams. High-resolution pictures and more detailed image descriptions can be downloaded below.

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April 2021

Imaging Enhanced: Today´s Raman Microscopy Applications

We're hosting a half-day virtual symposium in cooperation with Spectroscopy Online that will take place on May 19th at 1 p.m. EDT. 

This event will feature scientific talks from researchers in academia and industry. Exciting and resonant topics of presentations will include microplastics, 2D materials, human health, biology, geoscience and electrochemistry. The theoretical foundations of Raman imaging will also be covered and the considerations involved in achieving the very highest spectral and spatial resolution will be detailed. 

The first session is titled: Raman Imaging and its Potential in Earth & Life Sciences, while the second is: Raman Imaging for Comprehensive Materials Research. Question and answer forums will follow each session.

We cordially invite you to visit the conference page to view the full program and to register:


Spec WITec 504 1

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February 2021

WITec ParticleScout™ Enhanced with New Features

The cutting edge of Raman-based microparticle characterization gets even sharper

Ulm, Germany  
February 1, 2021

WITec GmbH, the pace-setting leader in Raman microscope technology, has enhanced its ParticleScout automated particle analysis tool to offer even greater speed and versatility for finding, classifying and identifying microparticles. 

ParticleScout now includes integration time optimization that uses the signal to noise ratio to determine how long each particle is measured for identification. This not only greatly reduces overall measurement time, but also minimizes the effects of fluorescence.

“The first release of ParticleScout was a response to the general demand for a microparticle analysis system built around Raman spectroscopy,” says Harald Fischer, Marketing Director at WITec. “This version is driven by direct feedback from researchers and their specific requirements in laboratories focused on environmental research, food science, pharmaceutics and many other applications.”

The enhanced ParticleScout has added image processing features such as vignetting correction, smart zoom that displays particle information dynamically depending on viewed area, and multiple sample area targeting. These conveniences are complemented by the integration and possible combination of dark-field, bright-field, epifluorescence and transmission sample illumination.

A software routine has been introduced to accelerate measurements of round samples such as filters that contain homogeneously distributed particles. It allows a wedge section to be selected for analysis and the results can then be extrapolated to represent the whole. Another innovation is the smart separation of closely adjacent or touching particles. This is especially useful for densely packed, heterogeneous samples.

Data post-processing with WITec’s TrueMatch™ Raman database management software is updated as well, including the ability to identify individual components in mixed spectra. Hit quality index (HQI) calculation is also optimized with automatic noise reduction and substrate spectra removal. Together these advances enable a new degree of precision in sample characterization.

Finally, the quantitative report that summarizes the results of a ParticleScout investigation can now be formatted with pre-configured templates such as tables, bar graph histograms or pie charts for clear and effective data presentation.

For more on the very latest in automated particle analysis technology, please visit our product page:

Enhanced ParticleScout Graphic 504 Breit

ParticleScout's new integration time optimization feature: Time saving and efficient

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