Tuesday February 20, 2018
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Raman effect to detect fraudulent paintings, diseases, chemical weapons

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New York: An international research team has developed nanotechnology that harnesses surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to detect amounts of molecules in fraudulent paintings, diseases, chemical weapons and more.

Led by University at Buffalo (UB) engineers, the new method makes SERS simple and more affordable.

“The technology we’re developing – a universal substrate for SERS – is a unique and, potentially, revolutionary feature,” said lead author Qiaoqiang Gan from UB.

“It allows us to rapidly identify and measure chemical and biological molecules using a broadband nanostructure that traps wide range of light,” Gan added.

The universal substrate can trap a wide range of wavelengths and squeeze them into very small gaps to create a strongly enhanced light field.

“It acts similar to a skeleton key. Instead of needing all these different substrates to measure Raman signals excited by different wavelengths, you’ll eventually need just one. Just like a skeleton key that opens many doors,” co-author Nan Zhang said.

Traditional substrates, or the silicon surfaces on which liquid samples are deposited, are typically designed for only a very narrow range of wavelengths.

This is problematic because different substrates are needed if scientists want to use a different laser to test the same molecules.

In turn, this requires more chemical molecules and substrates, increasing costs and time to perform the test. The new technology has a wide range of applications.

“The ability to detect even smaller amounts of chemical and biological molecules could be helpful with biosensors that are used to detect cancer, malaria, HIV and other illnesses,” the researchers said.

“This could be helpful detecting forged pieces of art as well as restoring ageing pieces of art,” Gan said.

“Also, the technology could improve scientists’ ability to detect trace amounts of toxins in the air, water or other spaces that are causes for health concerns. And it could aid in the detection of chemical weapons,” he added.

The study was published in the journal Advanced Materials Interfaces. (IANS)

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Kidney disease may increase the risk of Diabetes: says a study

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Kidney disease may increase the risk of diabetes.
Kidney disease may increase the risk of diabetes. IANS

New York, Dec 12: If you are suffering from kidney dysfunction, you may be at high risk of developing diabetes, finds a study.

The risk may be attributed to the rising level of urea — the nitrogen-containing waste product in blood, which comes from the breakdown of protein in foods.

Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down, resulting in greater insulin resistance as well as secretion in the body.

“We have known for a long time that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, but now we have a better understanding that kidney disease, through elevated levels of urea, also raises the risk of diabetes,” said the Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

“When urea builds up in the blood because of kidney dysfunction, it often results in increased insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion,” Ziyad added.

The findings, published in the journal Kidney International, are significant because urea levels can be lowered through medication, diet — for example, by eating less protein — and other means, thereby allowing for improved treatment and possible prevention of diabetes, the researchers said.

For the study, the team evaluated the records of 1.3 million adults without diabetes over a five-year period, beginning in 2003.

Out of these, 117,000 of those without diabetes — or 9 per cent — had elevated urea levels, signalling poor kidney function and were at 23 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes. (IANS)

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