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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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Alcoholic Beverages Aren’t That Good For You As You May Have Thought

Are alcoholic drinks actually good for you? Think again.

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Alcohol Addiction
The researchers looked at the drinking patterns of 9,000 adolescents in Australia and New Zealand. Pixabay

We’ve heard from various studies that drinking a glass of wine a day, or any alcoholic beverage in moderation, can lower risks of serious illness such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and even gallstones.

But a new study from the UK’s University of Cambridge is contradicting those findings.

According to the United States Air Force Medical Service, each of the “standard” drinks above contains one-half ounce of pure ethyl alcohol. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez)

        According to the United States Air Force Medical Service, each of the “standard” drinks above contains one-half ounce          of pure ethyl alcohol. (U.S. Air Force graphic/Staff Sgt. Luis Loza Gutierrez) VOA

The paper, published in The Lancet, suggests that weekly drinking of more than five pints of beer, five glasses of wine, or five drinks with a maximum of 100 grams of pure alcohol, was linked with a lower life expectancy.

The study’s authors found drinking any more than what was suggested increases the risk of stroke, fatal aneurysm, heart failure and even death.

The researchers suggest having 10 to 18 drinks each week lessens life expectancy by between one to two years, and 18 drinks or more shortens life expectancy from four to five years.

 Also Read: Drinking just one or two alcoholic drinks per day may cause liver disease

“If you already drink alcohol, drinking less may help you live longer and lower your risk of several cardiovascular conditions,” said Dr. Angela Wood, from the University of Cambridge and lead author of the study in a University press release.  VOA

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