1. Editorial

In this edition we don’t really feature any particular subject and it is with regret that I have to admit that we are not innovating either. A-ha I hear you say – the Editorial team is running out of steam! My response – you wait until the next edition! Down to business –

Stewart Parker and David Champion are experts in inelastic neutron scattering and Stewart has been our main source of background material. One of the major limitations with INS (apart from the huge cost/spectrum) is the lack of easily accessible databases – of spectral libraries. As Stewart and David point out in their piece, an ever-growing database does exist and they describe and explain it.

Last Christmas I bumped into Herbert Shurvell and persuaded him to write us a piece on the subject closest to his heart – paper very old and new. Our second feature by Herbert and his colleagues in the Art Conservation Dept at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario describes how infrared is particularly useful in identifying pigments and whiteners in papers. They include a wide range of both current papers and also some a century old. I have a feeling their paper* will prove to be of considerable interest amongst conservationists. (*what a horrible pun)

IJVS has extensively covered diamond ATR. We have published descriptions of the technique, commercial products and its applications. One of the reasons, I must confess, is that I am a real enthusiast – to me, it is THE method of sampling in the mid infrared. As always, progress continues and Jim Fitzpatrick has generated an article on micro-sampling. Jim reviews progress to date and then goes on to explain the latest creation from SensIR which combines some features of a microscope and a diamond ATR. Jim then tells us about applications. I’m sure you will find the article useful.

On a more philosophical point – one might ask why Jim Fitzpatrick’s article appears as a feature article in a scientific journal. Isn’t it really just a press announcement from a manufacturer? My answer as your Editor is definitely no Jim’s article, like several others we have included, have significant value as pieces of science because they introduce the subject rather, explain the background and history behind the technique, offer a clear description and give examples of applications – a far more comprehensive and useful offering than a short piece of advertising copy.

In the submitted section we have three papers this time – one from Andrew Brookes and Derek Craston on reaction kinetic measurements using Raman methods, an offering on the calculation of fundamental mode frequencies from Dr Ridha, Salima and Bahoueddine and finally another offering on Micro-spectroscopy, this time in the Inorganic field and by Jon Schoonover, George Harilla and Patrick Treado.

The last paper shows that coupling Micro Raman spectroscopy with elemental analysis mapping can be particularly valuable in the study of complex inorganic mixtures. Schoonover and his colleagues show how valuable the technique can be in the nuclear waste industry but I can envisage it being valuable in geology and many other areas.

Dr Ridha and his colleagues have calculated from first principles the vibrational frequencies of PI3 PI2H and PIH2. The hydrides are of interest because it is very difficult to make pure samples so calculated frequencies are valuable in sorting out the spectra. Personally, I find this type of work a little frustrating because the calculated frequencies are very different from the experimental ones. In a complex molecule I just wonder how useful the calculated values are. Perhaps one of you experts in this field would like to comment.

Andy Brookes and Derek Craston’s work in kinetic field should be of widespread interest because they show how Raman can produce data through glass windows and does not, of course, involve sampling.

I recommend all these papers to you.