of a single-strand DNA
absorbed on gold.
Image: R. Pawlak/
University of Basel
Researchers are constantly developing
analytical methods that surpass
supposed limits of detection.
By Michelle Taylor, Contributing Science Writer
The newest laboratory technologies, instrumentation and research was recently on display at Pittcon 2019 in Philadelphia, March 17 to 21. Every ear, this conference and exposition
highlights the latest and greatest, with a special emphasis on its spectroscopy roots, which go all the way
back to the first Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical
Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy in 1950.
Today, spectroscopy is used across a plethora
of scientific industries, with key markets including
proteomics, environmental testing and diagnostics.
The introduction of spectroscopy-based analytical
methods into the pharmaceutical and biotechnology
industries has led to a surging demand for the technology,
and is a major factor in the growth of the global spectroscopy market. In fact, according to WiseGuyReports, the
global spectroscopy market is projected to rise at a CAGR
of 4. 4 percent from 2018 to 2023. In four years, the global
spectroscopy market is expected to reach more than $16.3
billion—an increase of $3.1 billion from 2018.
No matter how long spectroscopy has been around, scientists are still formulating techniques to make the technology
quicker, more compact/portable, or more sensitive. Year
after year, the supposed “limit of detection” for spectroscopic techniques decreases. It’s a testament to scientists’ and
researchers’ will—to see something accepted as a limit of detection, and then have the wherewithal to blow right past it.
It’s these innovations that eventually become life-altering
technology for society. But they must begin somewhere—
and that somewhere can be found in the early-stage labs of
researchers like Jüergen Hauer, who has developed a spectroscopic method to provide more precise information about
Two are better than one
Using spectroscopy to excite a single molecule, thereby recording its fluorescence spectrum, is standard for research groups
that are interested in such an application. What is not as
common—and more difficult to do—is measure the absorption
spectrum of a single molecule. Ideally, researchers would like to
record both the fluorescence spectrum as well as the absorption
spectrum—or, to put it simply, which light gets emitted and
which light gets absorbed by the molecule.