1. When we started we promised a series of themes – well, like all the best ideas, this one has slipped a little. In Edition III we continue the subject raised last time – the atmosphere and the effect it has on our spectroscopy. As we previously discussed, the atmosphere (whether man-made or not) influences the background in infrared spectrometers and this can, in turn, affect our results. In this edition we expand a little on this subject and offer a few methods of solving “background problems”.

One of my ambitions for the Journal is to find really interesting instruments or applications and ask well qualified authors to tell us about them. Several people have already been invited and are hard at it, scribbling away. The first to arrive is a piece by Mike Pelletier. He works for Kaiser Optical, a company famous for their holographic filters. Recently the company announced a really novel Raman spectrometer incorporating several very unusual features. I am keen that IJVS does not publish commercials, so I asked Mike to write me a proper scientific account and to explain the more unusual features of the Kaiser machine. You can judge for me, but I hope you will agree that the article is interesting and definitely not an advertisement.

Last autumn I had the honour of attending the 2nd Australian Conference on Vibrational Spectroscopy in Brisbane. The breadth of coverage and the quality impressed me enormously and I wandered round the poster sessions, asking the youngsters to produce pieces describing their work.

Several are on their way and the first is included in this edition. The subject is specialised but the techniques used are not. The authors are telling us about an infrared band method of analysis on wool, or rather chlorinated wool. Their introduction describes the industrial processes involved and why the analysis is required. Even if you are not interested in wool (except for your socks!) and its chlorination, scan the paper – the approach may well be relevant to the work you do. In particular, they use ATR and then process the data quite extensively. Some readers may not be very comfortable with derivation, least squares and other mathematical procedures, others may not be familiar with ATR. Don’t worry – we will be covering all of these matters in future editions of the Journal.

Since writing last, I have been busy requesting articles and even whole editions for the future. A major piece on near infrared applications, another on optical materials, an edition devoted to chemometrics, another on inelastic neutron scattering – all are promised, together with many others.

The number of responses from readers is increasing – please let this continue. We really have no other way of knowing what you think of the Journal. Please tell us – even if you think it is rubbish!!