May 6, 2021
Three scientific publications have been recognized by the WITec Paper Award, an annual competition among peer-reviewed articles from the previous year that feature results acquired with a WITec microscope. The exceptional quality of the 115 submitted publications made it particularly challenging to select only three winners. The Paper Awards for 2021 go to researchers from the UK, Turkey and the USA who performed Raman imaging measurements on zebrafish embryos, meteorites and jet engine thermal barrier coatings, respectively. WITec congratulates the winners and thanks all the participants.
- GOLD: H. Høgset, C. C. Horgan, J. P. K. Armstrong, M. S. Bergholt, V. Torraca, Q. Chen, T. J. Keane, L. Bugeon, M. J. Dallman, S. Mostowy, M. M. Stevens (2020) In vivo biomolecular imaging of zebrafish embryos using confocal Raman spectroscopy. Nature Communications 11: 6172 www.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-19827-1
- SILVER: M. Yesiltas, M. Kaya, T. D. Glotch, R. Brunetto, A. Maturilli, J. Helbert, M. E. Özel (2020) Biconical reflectance, micro-Raman, and nano-FTIR spectroscopy of the Didim (H3-5) meteorite: Chemical content and molecular variations. Meteoritics & Planetary Science 55: 2404-2421 www.doi.org/10.1111/maps.13585
- BRONZE: C. Barrett, Z. Stein, J. Hernandez, R. Naraparaju, U. Schulz, L. Tetard, S. Raghavan (2021) Detrimental effects of sand ingression in jet engine ceramic coatings captured with Raman-based 3D rendering. Journal of the European Ceramic Society 41: 1664-1671 (available online 2020) www.doi.org/10.1016/j.jeurceramsoc.2020.09.050
For a list of all previous Paper Award winners, please visit www.witec.de/paper-award.
The Paper Award GOLD: Raman imaging of zebrafish embryos
Zebrafish are well-established model organisms in the life sciences and are frequently used for studying embryonic development and various diseases. Håkon Høgset from Imperial College London (ICL), UK, receives the Gold Paper Award 2021 for demonstrating the versatility of confocal Raman imaging for the biomolecular characterization of zebrafish embryos. Together with his co-workers from ICL and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, he established that the distribution of various biomolecules such as lipids and proteins can be visualized in an embryo on different length scales. First, 3D Raman images of entire, several-millimeter-long zebrafish embryos demonstrated Raman imaging of an entire organism. Second, high-resolution Raman imaging revealed microscale features of tissue sections from dorsal muscle, tail and gut. Raman imaging was next used to detect clusters of mycobacterial infection in a zebrafish model for tuberculosis. Based on metabolic differences, Raman spectroscopy could even distinguish between infections arising from different strains. Lastly, time-lapse Raman imaging monitored molecular changes during wound response in living embryos over several hours. The authors expect that, “the ability to perform volumetric and in vivo imaging in unlabeled embryos should provide a host of new opportunities for zebrafish research that can readily complement existing fluorescence imaging techniques.”
The Paper Award SILVER: Chemical characterization of meteorites
From the chemical composition of meteorites, planetary scientists can learn a great deal about their parent bodies’ history. “Studying meteorites and their parent bodies helps us understand how our solar system formed and evolved,” says Mehmet Yesiltas from Kirklareli University, Turkey, winner of the Silver Paper Award 2021. His publication presents a detailed chemical analysis of the Didim meteorite, which he investigated together with his colleagues from research institutions in Turkey, the USA, France and Germany. The Didim meteorite (named after Didim, Turkey, where it fell in 2007) is a chondrite with a relatively rare and varied mineralogical composition, making it especially interesting. The authors investigated its chemical composition on different scales using three spectroscopic methods. Biconical reflectance spectroscopy was used for an initial large-scale assessment and revealed mainly anhydrous silicates. Raman imaging then allowed for a more precise characterization of the rock’s minerals, including feldspars, olivine and pyroxene, and their distributions on the micrometer scale. Also, aromatic hydrocarbons of different thermal metamorphic grades were shown to exist in close proximity within the meteorite. Non-destructive 3D Raman imaging showed that the carbonaceous matter was present beneath an olivine grain inside the meteorite, suggesting its extraterrestrial origin. Furthermore, nano-FTIR spectroscopy indicated that the mineralogical composition of the rock varied even on the sub-micrometer scale.
The Paper Award BRONZE: Thermochemical degradation of ceramic coatings
Jet engines are protected against their extremely high operating temperatures by thermal barrier coatings (TBCs). Ingression of molten calcium, magnesium and alumino-silicates (CMAS) into a TBC during flight causes severe damage to it and shortens the engine’s lifetime. Chance Barrett from the University of Central Florida (UCF), USA, wins the Bronze Paper Award 2021 for presenting 3D Raman imaging as a non-destructive method for analyzing the CMAS-induced degradation of TBCs, together with his co-workers from UCF and the German Aerospace Center. CMAS ingression causes a transition of the TBC to the monoclinic phase. The volume fraction of this phase therefore represents a measure of the degree of degradation and it can be quantified with Raman imaging. 3D Raman maps of TBCs visualized the degradation as a function of depth. The damage was less pronounced in the core of the columns that form the TBC than at their edges, because the gaps between the columns were more accessible. Additionally, time-dependent measurements showed that most of the damage occurred during the first hour of CMAS infiltration. The results were validated by scanning electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. To the authors’ knowledge, their study is the first to present a non-destructive 3D characterization of TBC degradation at high resolution. They postulate that, “This ability to quantitatively and non-destructively characterize degradation of CMAS infiltrated TBCs will accelerate development of degradation resistant coatings.”
Don’t miss your chance in the WITec Paper Award 2022
WITec invites scientists from all fields of application to participate in the Paper Award 2022 competition (www.witec.de/paper-award). Articles are eligible if they were published in 2021 in a peer-reviewed journal and feature results (at least partially) obtained with a WITec instrument. Submit your work as a PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org before January 31st, 2022. WITec is looking forward to receiving many outstanding publications again.
- Press Release Paper Award 2021 EN (PDF) (732 KB)
- Press Release Paper Award 2021 EN (DOCX) (480 KB)
- Pressemitteilung WITec Paper Award 2021 DE (PDF) (749 KB)
- Pressemitteilung WITec Paper Award 2021 DE (DOCX) (473 KB)
- Picture WITec Paper Award 2021 GOLD (JPG) (1.6 MB)
- Picture WITec Paper Award 2021 SILVER (JPG) (6.6 MB)
- Picture WITec Paper Award 2021 BRONZE (JPG) (1.2 MB)
We're hosting a half-day virtual symposium in cooperation with Spectroscopy Online that will take place on May 19th at 1 p.m. EDT.
This event will feature scientific talks from researchers in academia and industry. Exciting and resonant topics of presentations will include microplastics, 2D materials, human health, biology, geoscience and electrochemistry. The theoretical foundations of Raman imaging will also be covered and the considerations involved in achieving the very highest spectral and spatial resolution will be detailed.
The first session is titled: Raman Imaging and its Potential in Earth & Life Sciences, while the second is: Raman Imaging for Comprehensive Materials Research. Question and answer forums will follow each session.
We cordially invite you to visit the conference page to view the full program and to register:
The cutting edge of Raman-based microparticle characterization gets even sharper
February 1, 2021
WITec GmbH, the pace-setting leader in Raman microscope technology, has enhanced its ParticleScout automated particle analysis tool to offer even greater speed and versatility for finding, classifying and identifying microparticles.
ParticleScout now includes integration time optimization that uses the signal to noise ratio to determine how long each particle is measured for identification. This not only greatly reduces overall measurement time, but also minimizes the effects of fluorescence.
“The first release of ParticleScout was a response to the general demand for a microparticle analysis system built around Raman spectroscopy,” says Harald Fischer, Marketing Director at WITec. “This version is driven by direct feedback from researchers and their specific requirements in laboratories focused on environmental research, food science, pharmaceutics and many other applications.”
The enhanced ParticleScout has added image processing features such as vignetting correction, smart zoom that displays particle information dynamically depending on viewed area, and multiple sample area targeting. These conveniences are complemented by the integration and possible combination of dark-field, bright-field, epifluorescence and transmission sample illumination.
A software routine has been introduced to accelerate measurements of round samples such as filters that contain homogeneously distributed particles. It allows a wedge section to be selected for analysis and the results can then be extrapolated to represent the whole. Another innovation is the smart separation of closely adjacent or touching particles. This is especially useful for densely packed, heterogeneous samples.
Data post-processing with WITec’s TrueMatch™ Raman database management software is updated as well, including the ability to identify individual components in mixed spectra. Hit quality index (HQI) calculation is also optimized with automatic noise reduction and substrate spectra removal. Together these advances enable a new degree of precision in sample characterization.
Finally, the quantitative report that summarizes the results of a ParticleScout investigation can now be formatted with pre-configured templates such as tables, bar graph histograms or pie charts for clear and effective data presentation.
For more on the very latest in automated particle analysis technology, please visit our product page:
- Press Release - Enhanced ParticleScout - English (DOCX) (396 KB)
- Press Release - Enhanced ParticleScout - English (PDF) (229 KB)
- Image - Product Picture - Enhanced ParticleScout (JPEG) (812 KB)
- Graphic - Integration Time Optimization - Enhanced ParticleScout (JPEG) (170 KB)
- Pressemitteilung - Neue ParticleScout Funktionen - Deutsch (PDF) (490 KB)
- Pressemitteilung - Neue ParticleScout Funktionen - Deutsch (DOCX) (223 KB)
WITec’s alpha300 apyron fully automated Raman microscope has been recognized by the SelectScience Scientists’ Choice Awards with a nomination in the category of “Best New Spectroscopy Product of 2020”. We’re very grateful to be in the running for this award, and sincerely appreciate the support that our customers have expressed for our most advanced microscope ever.
The Scientists’ Choice Awards are an industry-wide competition held every year to highlight the new laboratory products that have been most useful to scientists in their work. The researchers themselves directly nominate, review, and vote for the winners.
The alpha300 apyron brings a new level of automation to correlative Raman imaging microscopy by featuring self-optimization and remote operation capabilities. Its software-driven motorized components accelerate experimental setup while reducing user workload and researchers working from home or using environmental enclosures such as glove boxes can acquire data with the click of a mouse.
Vote here for the alpha300 apyron and you could win a $500/£400/450€ Amazon Gift Card:
This year, instead of sending Christmas presents to its customers, WITec GmbH is donating 5,000 Euros to the Albert Einstein Discovery Center Association. "As a manufacturer of microscopy systems from Ulm, and through our close connection to physics, it is especially important to us to help make the Albert Einstein Discovery Center a reality," emphasized Dr. Olaf Hollricher, co-founder and head of research and development at WITec. The donation was presented at WITec headquarters in Ulm’s Science Park by Dr. Hollricher and Dr. Joachim Koenen to Dr. Nancy Hecker-Denschlag, Chairwoman of the Albert Einstein Discovery Center Association. Dr. Hollricher added, "I think it’s a good and important effort to create a place that honors this monumental physicist and provides an opportunity to experience his work in the place of his birth."
The Science City of Ulm should live up to its name. Until now, there hasn’t been a scientific museum that illustrates the revolutionary ideas of Albert Einstein, the world's most famous and renowned son of the city of Ulm. The future experience and discovery center will both tell the story of Albert Einstein's life and present his theories and research results. "We need to take advantage of the momentum that now exists and move forward to build this museum soon," explains Dr. Olaf Hollricher. Dr. Nancy Hecker-Denschlag, Chairwoman of the Albert Einstein Discovery Center Association, expressed her happiness with the response, "It's great that so many successful companies from Ulm are participating in the project. So we're all pulling in the same direction, because we're not just doing something for Ulm, we want to create a center of global interest." Those who wish to join the association can already benefit from the lectures and roundtable discussions it hosts and will also soon be able to take part in excursions that cater to the scientific interests of its members.
Albert Einstein Discovery Center home page:
- Press Release - WITec Einstein Discovery Center Donation (DOCX) (527 KB)
- Press Release - WITec Einstein Discovery Center Donation (PDF) (162 KB)
- Image - WITec Einstein Discovery Center Donation (JPEG) (1.8 MB)
WITec in Japan and the Chiba Institute of Technology, Japan, cooperate to analyze microplastics (< 20 µm)
WITec GmbH, the German manufacturer of high-performance Raman, AFM, SNOM, and correlative nano-analytical microscopy systems, announces a new cooperation in Japan for particle analysis.
Dr. Yutaka Kameda, Associate Professor at the Chiba Institute of Technology (CIT) in Japan, and his team have been working very successfully for several years on the analysis of microplastics in the environment. One example is the development of a unique interactive mapping system for microplastics that uses sea water collected from all over the world by tankers from Nippon Yusen Kaisha with a standardized sampling method that ensures reproducible results. These projects focus on particles with a size of 20 µm or larger. However, it is expected that much smaller microplastics, down to a size of 1 µm, are most problematic for all organisms.
WITec has developed the technology necessary for the highly efficient and precise analysis of these tiny particles. It enables the automated classification, chemical identification, and quantification of particles over a large sample area. WITec will carry out the sample measurements conducted under this new cooperation using these capabilities.
During the kick-off meeting, Dr. Kameda said, “We have several ongoing and future projects that look at microplastics in the environment, such as monitoring sea water samples from all over the world as well as analyzing tap water, wastewater, etc. in Japan. With these projects, we focus on particles with a size of greater than 20 micrometers. Having a reliable analytical method available for even smaller microplastics would be a big step forward. In addition, we want to establish a method of monitoring microplastics in the atmosphere. With the air that we breathe every day a substantial amount of microplastics gets into our body. It is expected that especially the smaller particles are very harmful to health. The cooperation with WITec opens up an opportunity to establish an analytical method that can identify and quantify these tiny particles in air.”
Michael Verst, director at WITec in Japan, said, “It is a great honor for us to cooperate with CIT. Dr. Kameda and his team are well known for their excellent research in environmental chemistry. Their projects that investigate microplastics are especially esteemed. We are convinced that combining WITec’s high-performance technology with the knowledge and experience of Dr. Kameda and his team, will reveal new insights about the state of our environment. A precise and efficient analytical method will hopefully lead to better ecological monitoring and the improvement of our living conditions and health.”
Plastic is everywhere, in our food, air, rivers and oceans. There are indications that very small particles are exceptionally hazardous. We hope that our cooperation will make an important contribution to better understanding this topic.
To keep pace with the rapid growth of the Chinese market for scientific instruments, WITec’s representative office in Beijing has moved to a larger space, now in the Air China Plaza Tower.
Our new location features a dedicated equipment demonstration laboratory where visitors can experience our latest technologies in person, and see the advantages they provide in action. Our Beijing team is also ready to receive visitors and offer consultations regarding the best instrument configuration for researchers’ individual requirements.
If you have any questions about our microscopes, or if you’re interested in having our applications scientists in China perform measurements on one of your samples, please contact us at the address below:
WITec Beijing Representative Office
Unit 1307A, Air China Plaza Tower 1, No. 36 Xiaoyun Road,
Chaoyang District, 100027, Beijing, China
ParticleScout recognized by readers as an outstanding innovation
November 24th, 2020
WITec GmbH, innovator of Raman and correlative imaging microscopes, has received a Wiley Analytical Science Award 2021 for its ParticleScout automated particle analysis tool. ParticleScout won 2nd Place in the category: Spectroscopy and Microscopy.
This award celebrates outstanding innovation in equipment used for scientific analysis. A neutral jury of experts at Wiley created a shortlist from the full range of submissions, and then the readers of the print and digital editions of Wiley Analytical Science’s portfolio of journals voted for their favorites. The winners were announced during the Wiley Analytical Science Conference 2020.
“We’re very honored that ParticleScout has been recognized with this award, especially as it was chosen directly by Wiley’s readers,” said Harald Fischer, Marketing Director at WITec. “Being selected as a finalist and then supported by so many individuals I think reflects the strength of our technology, and also a wider awareness that precisely measuring microparticles and microplastics in our environment is an important and timely capability.”
ParticleScout is an advanced particle analysis tool that uses white light and Raman microscopy, a fast, label-free and non-destructive chemical characterization method, to find, classify, identify and quantify microparticles. It streamlines the entire microparticle analysis workflow, increasing the rate at which measurements can be performed and the number of particles that can be evaluated.
ParticleScout’s features include the ability to detect particles less than 1 µm in size, a variety of user-definable Boolean filters for particle categorization, and full integration with a Raman spectral database management software for sample component identification.
WITec ParticleScout product page:
- Press Release - WITec Wins Wiley Analytical Science Award 2021 - English (DOCX) (875 KB)
- Press Release - WITec Wins Wiley Analytical Science Award 2021 - English (PDF) (232 KB)
- Image - WITec Wins Wiley Analytical Science Award 2021 (4.6 MB)
We’ve produced aerial drone footage of our headquarters expansion that shows its current state of construction. The work is progressing quickly and the scale of the addition that will double capacity at our core facility is clearly visible. We look forward to the new spaces for production, development, shipping, product demonstrations and many other uses that it will offer when completed.
See the video below for a view of the changes to WITec’s home in Ulm, Germany. For more details about the design, utility and context of our new building expansion, please refer to the original press release.
Headquarters expansion update video (YouTube):
Original headquarters expansion press release:
Online event showcased the latest research and drew international participation
WITec GmbH, the driver of innovation in Raman and correlative microscopy, has completed hosting its first entirely online scientific conference.
The Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 was organized as a substitute for the renowned Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium. WITec wanted to provide a forum for the presentation and discussion of the exciting chemical characterization research that continues to advance while the scientific community is distributed. It was a response to the uncertainty and travel restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic, and it was a resounding success.
Over 250 people took part and 55 scientific posters were submitted in four different categories. The range of applications included the analysis of active ingredient and excipient distribution in pharmaceutical tablets, characterization of battery materials, detection of microplastic particles, cancer diagnosis, chemical analyses of organoids and polymer fibers in 3D, bacterial signaling investigation, analysis of microinclusions in arctic ice, extremely high-pressure Raman measurements, strain analyses in semiconductors, and many more.
“We were cautiously optimistic that the community would embrace the online conference format to share their recent work, and then the reaction far exceeded our expectations,” described WITec Marketing Director Harald Fischer. “The diversity, both scientifically and geographically, of the posters submitted really reflected the widespread adoption of Raman imaging.”
Discussions were carried out on the platform’s chat function and participants cast their votes for the Best Poster Award, which was won by Dr. Nathalie Jung (Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) for her presentation titled, “Chemically-selective visualisation of organoids and their interaction with hydrogel matrices.”
The Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit and the thoroughly international engagement it produced has encouraged WITec to continue developing online event formats while the company looks forward to bringing the Raman imaging community back together in person. The Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium will return for its 17th occasion from September 27th through the 29th, 2021 in Ulm, Germany.
Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 review page:
Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium home page:
- Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 Press Release EN (PDF) (206 KB)
- Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 Press Release EN (docx) (274 KB)
- Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 Press Release DE (PDF) (504 KB)
- Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 Press Release DE (docx) (278 KB)
- WITec Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 Banner (401 KB)
- WITec Poster Summit 2020 Welcome Session (4.7 MB)
- WITec Poster Award Winner 2020 (1.7 MB)