1. Editorial

This edition is very late. Edition I should have appeared in late February, but at that time we had absolutely no copy – not a scrap, no contributed articles, no features and virtually no contributions to Dear Readers. I therefore decided that as Editor ‘I had better do what Editors do’ and write some stuff myself. You will find a ‘feature’ AND a ‘contributed’ piece and I hope that you find them interesting. Fortunately, some other material has rolled in and so we can now offer Edition I.

What’s more – Edition II has just arrived – a superb special edition produced by Professor Z-Q Tian of the University of Xiamen in China. So, once desk-editing and formatting is completed, Edition II will be on-line in a few weeks from now, thus catching up our production rate.

This edition – I have been aware for some time that many of the younger folk who use infrared have had little or no instruction in technique. I suppose I didn’t either, but after 40 years or so, you pick up the odd tip or two. You will find in this edition a rather simple-minded but ‘none-the-less useful for that’ piece on polishing infrared windows. Why? I knew you’d all ask. In many infrared analyses you need to use good quality windows – liquid cells, gas cells, liquid parafin mulls etc, etc. The problem is that KBr and Rock Salt windows deteriorate very rapidly because they are water sensitive, soft and very fragile. As a result users should store them properly and keep them polished. In the article I give you all a really detailed description of how to grind and polish windows and how to keep them polished and useful. In a near future edition I will tell you all about the liquid parafin mull technique.

We also have an interesting piece from Richard Spragg and his colleagues at Perkin Elmer Beaconsfield, UK on the examination of combinatorial chemistry beads. This rapidly expanding area of chemistry is attracting a considerable amount of activity amongst analysts and the use of mid infrared is particularly valuable.

In the submitted paper section you will find a paper on low temperature Raman cells in which we describe a new design. The only snag is that the glassblowers have to border on genius. Be that as it may – the new cell works a devil of a lot better than the older standard ones. Have a look!

Geoff Dent told me recently of a long collection of Raman spectra of inorganic compounds recorded in his laboratory by Rose Keepax, an undergraduate student visiting his lab at Avecia last summer. The spectra are of excellent quality and we were hoping to include about half of them in this edition, but the “love bug” virus put paid to that. So we plan to get them to you as a special mini-issue between this and the next edition. More will follow soon after.

Several people have again raised the question of the quality of the spectra we publish. As I have reported before, many authors want their spectra to appear in their articles to illustrate points, but they are not at all happy that their data is available to readers in full digital form. We have respected this view to date, but we have decided to resolve the problem by offering high quality digital data when the author agrees. Louise will explain the full details below. We will try to persuade all authors to let us publish digital quality spectral data if they wish. You never know, perhaps most will agree! I have tried to set the scene by including all the spectra of our two articles in this edition as .pdf files [see Spectra Index].

Bruno Lunelli of the University of Bologna, Italy has pointed out that we have no sources on calibration in our Journal. We plan to cover this subject later this year in a Special Edition. In the meantime, can anyone come up with a good up-to-date set of references for our Bookshelf Section?

On April 27th I had an e-mail from Ray Frost at Q.U.T in Brisbane asking what had happened to a paper he submitted back in July last! Red faces all round – we have processed this excellent manuscript on emmission spectroscopy applied to minerals. It appears as our second submitted paper. Even if you know nothing about emmission spectroscopy or minerals I suggest you read this piece. In many other areas of analytical service emmission is an excellent and very under exploited idea.

So- we DID have some copy after all. The semi chaos resulting from our move from the University of Southampton is to blame – sounds convincing I hope!

Sceptical comment…..
I have just received unsolicited, details of Messrs Nicolet’s F-T Raman 960 ESP™ Spectrometer clad in a nice, heavily embossed dark blue folder. “Good Lord” I thought – here we have real progress – EXTRA SENSORY PERCEPTION – and we are yet to complete the first year of the twenty first century! A really intelligent FTIR-R no less. Does as its’ told without telling it – fantastic – how do they do THAT?

Sadly, it seems ESP™ stands for “enhanced synchronization protocol” – ah well, we live in hope. Give ’em another 20 years and perhaps the machine will think for us – then again, perhaps it won’t!

Patrick Hendra

Assistant Editorial

After escaping writing anything for a few editions, Patrick has decreed that I ‘run through’ everything about pdf files and spectra. So now “busy mother of one four-month old girlie who has decided to start sprout teeth(!)” also has to deal with the job of presenting spectra properly!?

So now we’ve decided to offer digital spectra if the authors agree. And with some some new software – Adobe Acrobat – we can now change spectrum files into .pdf [Portable Document Files] files. This means that you can download the spectra as quality digital data as well as see them as graphic diagrams. Please note though the seventy odd spectra of Geoff Dent’s are ONLY supplied as .pdf files as I didn’t think that anyone would want to print off all the spectra as graphics.

I am using the latest version of Adobe Acrobat/Reader (Version 4.0) etc, so you may find that you need to down-load the latest Adobe Reader from the Adobe website [www.adobe.com]. Adobe Reader is available FREE from this site.

It’s been a bit of trial and error to get the spectra into .pdf’s – plus I keep getting interupted by a certain small person! Hopefully the spectra in this issue will be OK, although I’m sure that some of you will no doubt let me know if they’re not! Otherwise, let us know what you think anyway.

Louise Martin