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)
Online conference offers the Raman community a forum for scientific exchange
August 11th, 2020
WITec GmbH, technology leader in Raman microscopy, is hosting its first Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit from September 28th to October 2nd, 2020.
This online conference offers the worldwide Raman community the chance to present and discuss their work from the convenience of their homes or home laboratories. Session topics will include: Life Sciences, Biomedical and Pharma Research, Advanced Materials Analysis, Environmental and Geosciences, and Correlative Imaging Applications.
The Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit takes the place of the Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium in the calendar of premiere events for chemical imaging and spectroscopy. The annual Symposium is acclaimed for both the diversity of the disciplines represented in its presentations, and its sociable atmosphere. The Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit will preserve both of these qualities while moving to a distributed format in response to the ongoing pandemic.
As expressed by Harald Fischer, Marketing Director at WITec, “We can’t wait to see what the Raman community has been up to. Even in these uncertain times, scientific progress continues and people are understandably excited about their latest discoveries. The Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit is in 2020 the best platform for sharing that excitement.”
Participants will be able to discuss the research presented through an online chat tool and send questions directly to the poster authors. To conclude the event, everyone will have the chance to vote for their favorite in the Best Poster Award competition. The deadline to submit an abstract for the conference is September 15th, 2020.
For further details, please see the Virtual Poster Summit 2020 homepage:
- Press Release - Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 - English (docx) (317 KB)
- Press Release - Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit 2020 - German (docx) (259 KB)
- WITec Virtual Poster Summit 2020 Banner (jpg) (401 KB)
Two-dimensional (2D) materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are receiving increasing attention due to their unique optical and electronic properties. Their possible applications include the production of transistors, photo detectors, light emitting diodes (LEDs) and photovoltaic cells. In order to produce high-quality devices, synthesis processes must be evaluated efficiently. Thus, non-destructive imaging techniques are required for monitoring crystal properties and features such as grain boundaries, layer number, defect density, doping and strain fields.
In our new application note, we present a series of measurements of CVD-grown mono-layer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), which illustrate the advantages of correlative Raman, second harmonic generation (SHG) and photoluminescence (PL) microscopy for investigating TMDs. All measurements were performed at the same area of interest using a WITec alpha300 microscope equipped with a 532 nm laser for Raman and PL imaging and a picosecond-pulsed 1064 nm laser for SHG excitation.
Strain fields in the crystal were visualized by Raman and PL imaging, as both the frequency of the E2g Raman mode (upper left image) and the wavelength of the PL signal (lower left image) were red-shifted in the same areas. Rim effects around the border of the MoS2 flake were clearly visible in the PL image (lower left image), as well as in the image of the A1g Raman mode (see the attached application note).
SHG microscopy is sensitive to changes in crystal orientation and symmetry and visualized grain boundaries in the MoS2 flake (upper right picture). Additionally, polarization-dependent SHG measurements can identify the crystal orientation and reveal strain fields. To this end, the excitation polarization is rotated while recording the intensity of the SHG signal component that has the same polarization as the incident light. Polarization series were recorded in a fully automated manner at three positions of the MoS2 flake (lower right picture). The distinct patterns observed indicate different strain levels.
Correlative Raman, PL and SHG imaging yields complementary and consistent information for characterizing single-layer TMD crystals by visualizing features of the crystal structure, such as grain boundaries or strain fields, without damaging the sample.
For more details, including further pictures and references, please download our 2-page application note on correlative high-resolution imaging of MoS2.
Raman imaging is a non-destructive tool for evaluating the quality of 2D materials as strain, doping, defects and layer number can be assessed. These two large-area Raman images visualize defect density (top) and strain fields (bottom) in a CVD-grown graphene flake at high spatial resolution (100 nm per pixel). They were acquired using the fully automated Raman microscope alpha300 apyron equipped with a 532 nm laser for excitation and TrueSurface for focus stabilization.
The upper Raman image is color-coded according to the intensity of the D-band in the recorded Raman spectra. It visualizes crystal defects, as the D-band intensity depends on the defect density in the carbon lattice. The observed width of the fine structures is very close to the diffraction limited lateral resolution achievable with 532 nm excitation, demonstrating the microscope’s high performance.
The lower Raman image is color-coded according to the peak position of the 2D-band, which was quantified by a Pseudo-Voigt fit. The image visualizes local strain/doping effects, as the frequency of the 2D-band is influenced by local strain and, to a lesser extent, by doping.
These examples offer conclusive proof that with an advanced and highly sensitive system, Raman imaging alone can provide access to the finest details of graphene crystal properties.
We’re thrilled to share that ParticleScout, our automated microparticle analysis tool, has been chosen as a finalist for the 2021 Wiley Analytical Science Award!
This distinction from a neutral jury of researchers and industry representatives includes ParticleScout among six nominated products in the “Spectroscopy & Microscopy” category. Now, the readers of “GIT Labor-Fachzeitschrift”, “Imaging & Microscopy” and all users of the Wiley Analytical Science Portal can vote for their favorite product on the following page:
Voting is possible from July 1st until September 30th. Wish us luck, or even better, voice your support for ParticleScout, the revolutionary tool that uses Raman spectroscopy to characterize microparticles, including microplastics in the environment.
A paper just published in the Journal of Biophotonics describes how Raman spectoscopy can enable the detection of RNA viruses in human saliva. Dr. Amit Dutt's group at the Tata Memorial Centre, based in Mumbai, obtained raw data with a WITec Raman microscope and carried out statistical analysis to find a set of 65 Raman spectral features that positively identified the presence or absence of viruses in a sample.
The analysis could be performed in less than a minute without adding a reagent to increase the signal. Their signal set was able to achieve 92.5% sensitivity and 88.8% specificity.
“This conceptual framework to detect RNA viruses in saliva could form the basis for field application of Raman Spectroscopy in managing viral outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said the researchers.
Increased capacity required to meet growing demand for Raman imaging microscopes
June 10th, 2020
WITec GmbH, the technology leader in correlative Raman microscopy, is expanding its headquarters building in Ulm.
The new addition will offer more space for production and quality assurance, laboratories for development and customer demonstrations or sample measurements, larger conference rooms and greater logistical capability. When complete, the new addition will double the amount of space available at WITec’s core location.
“It was time to expand,” says Joachim Koenen, Co-founder and Managing Director of WITec. “We made advanced Raman imaging much more accessible by simplifying operation through our user-interface and extensive automation. The scientific community and marketplace have reacted very positively to these developments. As more researchers put our instruments in their labs, the word got out, and now we need the increased production capacity.”
WITec’s current headquarters was completed in 2009. Its design reflects the modularity and versatility of the scientific instruments produced within. An open and light-filled interior provides an environment for employees that is conducive to the exchange of ideas. Research and development, sales, applications, production, marketing, administration, technical service and logistics teams all work together hand-in-hand. This greatly contributes to WITec’s vaunted technological agility and preserves its innovative spirit.
As described by Olaf Hollricher, Co-founder and Managing Director of R&D at WITec, “Our headquarters was purpose-built to encourage cross-departmental interaction, from development through shipping, and it’s had a very positive effect on the dynamics and performance of our company. The new expansion will allow us to scale up while adhering to this concept.”
Construction of the new addition will continue through 2020 with an anticipated opening toward the end of 2021.
- WITec New Building Expansion Rendering (3.7 MB)
- Press Release - New Building Expansion - English (DOCX) (442 KB)
- Press Release - New Building Expansion - German (DOCX) (444 KB)
WITec has created a new portal for instructional video content on our company website. It provides direct access to comprehensive tutorials and measurement demonstrations along with links to archived on-demand presentations.
As many scientists have recently increased their use of web-based resources to keep current with the latest in research techniques and technology, we’ve decided to consolidate our online webcast offerings in one point of entry. From the comfort of home offices, the many forms and applications of Raman imaging and correlative microscopy can be viewed at your convenience. Please check back regularly for updates as we continue to expand our webinar library.
WITec Reveals New Generation alpha300 apyron - Automated Raman Imaging Microscope with AutoBeam™ Technology.
Self-aligning, self-optimizing system keeps the focus on results.
April 28th, 2020
WITec GmbH, pioneer of Raman imaging and correlative microscopy, establishes the next level of automation and user-friendliness with the introduction of the new alpha300 apyron. Its AutoBeam technology unlocks the full potential of WITec’s industry-leading alpha300 series. The alpha300 apyron’s entirely new optical, analytical and remote operation capabilities mark the furthest advance yet in speed, sensitivity and resolution.
The alpha300 apyron can self-align and self-calibrate, which substantially reduces the researcher’s experimental workload by requiring less user input, enhancing reproducibility and eliminating potential sources of error. This is made possible by a complete set of WITec’s AutoBeam opto-mechanical components, a new and versatile tool kit that can be configured to create the perfect experimental setup for every investigation.
New functionalities provided by AutoBeam modules include polarization-dependent measurements with motorized polarizer and analyzer rotation, push-button spectrometer connection and signal maximization, and automated adjustment of both iris diaphragms. Software-driven automation also allows the alpha300 apyron to be operated completely remotely, whether in an environmental enclosure such as a glove box, or from another location.
According to Olaf Hollricher, Co-founder and Managing Director of Research and Development at WITec, “The alpha300 apyron, with its AutoBeam tool kit, is the culmination of our efforts to fully automate the Raman imaging process. It allows remote control, even from home, and can self-optimize for every measurement so researchers always get the best possible results.”
Available with a wide variety of excitation wavelengths from the ultraviolet through the visible into the near infrared, alpha300 apyron microscopes can be equipped with up to three ultra-high throughput WITec UHTS spectrometers and their accompanying range of detectors. Raman imaging and correlative measurements are defined, executed, saved and evaluated with WITec’s Suite FIVE software and intuitive EasyLink handheld controller.
WITec began automating Raman imaging measurements with the first generation apyron. Its advanced technology was introduced to the alpha300 line in stages of spiral development. The new consolidated alpha300 series is a continuous spectrum, from the entry-level access up to the flagship apyron. They all share the same rock-solid stability, fiber-based flexibility and integrated software environment.
As described by Joachim Koenen, Co-founder and Managing Director of WITec, “Many cutting-edge automated features of the apyron have made their way into the alpha300 line of microscopes over the past five years. As we developed new optical capabilities and hardware, they were built to a common standard. Now someone can configure an access, an apyron, or anything in between to meet the specific requirements of their research, even as it evolves.”
The user-friendliness of the alpha300 apyron makes advanced confocal Raman imaging accessible to researchers of all experience levels and fields of application. Scientists working in materials science, environmental science and microparticle analysis, life science, food science, geology, pharmaceutics and many other fields will benefit from automated alignment routines that provide consistently optimized performance. The alpha300 apyron accelerates both the experimental setup and subsequent measurement workflow.
You can find more information about the new alpha300 apyron here:
- WITec alpha300 apyron product picture (2.8 MB)
- Press Release alpha300 apyron English (DOCX) (268 KB)
- Press Release alpha300 apyron German (DOCX) (213 KB)
Every year, the WITec Paper Award competition recognizes three exceptional peer-reviewed publications that feature results acquired with a WITec microscope. A record number of 113 publications was submitted this year, in a clear demonstration of the power of Raman imaging for diverse fields of application such as cancer research, electrochemistry, semiconductor research, geology and microplastics research, to name only a few. WITec thanks all participants for their outstanding contributions from all over the world. The Paper Awards 2020 go to researchers from Japan, Poland and Austria and acknowledge impressive studies and methodologies from the fields of electrochemistry, biomedicine and polymer science, respectively.
- GOLD: Ankur Baliyan and Hideto Imai (2019) Machine Learning based Analytical Framework for Automatic Hyperspectral Raman Analysis of Lithium-ion Battery Electrodes. Scientific Reports 9: 18241. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-54770-2
- SILVER: Ewelina Wiercigroch, Elzbieta Stepula, Lukasz Mateuszuk, Yuying Zhang, Malgorzata Baranska, Stefan Chlopicki, Sebastian Schlücker and Kamilla Malek (2019) ImmunoSERS Microscopy for the Detection of Smooth Muscle Cells in Atherosclerotic Plaques. Biosensors and Bioelectronics 133: 79-85. doi.org/10.1016/j.bios.2019.02.068
- BRONZE: Ruth Schmidt, Harald Fitzek, Manfred Nachtnebel, Claudia Mayrhofer, Hartmuth Schröttner and Armin Zankel (2019) The Combination of Electron Microscopy, Raman Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy for the Investigation of Polymeric Materials. Macromolecular Symposia 384: 1800237. doi.org/10.1002/masy.201800237
For a list of all previous Paper Award winners, please visit www.witec.de/paper-award.
The Paper Award GOLD: Automated quality control of lithium-ion batteries
Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) provide the power for most electric devices that we use every day, such as cell phones, tablets and laptops. Their development was honored with the Nobel Prize in Chemistry last year. Automated real-time quality control of LIB materials is necessary for industrial research and production. Ankur Baliyan and Hideto Imai from Nissan Arc. (Yokosuka, Japan) win the Gold Paper Award 2020 for their machine learning-based approach to analyzing Raman data of LIBs. Raman images of LIB cathodes can visualize the spatial distribution of the active cathode material (lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide, abbreviated as LiMO2) and the surrounding carbon matrix. In order to automate and accelerate the process of identifying the spectral signatures in Raman datasets, the authors developed a machine learning-based analytical framework. It starts by automatically pre-processing the Raman data to remove the baseline and cosmic rays. Next, algorithms determine the number of components, extract the corresponding spectral signatures, and identify them. The spectra are finally used to train a neural network, which can then automatically analyze Raman data from the same or a different LIB sample. The authors demonstrated that data analysis by the trained neural network yielded results consistent with results from an experienced user. However, the algorithm found two minor signatures in addition to the main components of carbon and LiMO2 that corresponded to a residual background signal and one of the main components exhibiting increased fluorescence signals. The presented approach requires very little user input and is thus suitable for real-time quality control using Raman data from lithium-ion batteries and other applications.
The Paper Award SILVER: Characterizing atherosclerotic plaques with iSERS microscopy
“Atherosclerosis is one of the major causes of death worldwide. Understanding the mechanism of its formation still remains a great challenge in medicine. Powerful techniques for monitoring the composition and stability of atherosclerotic plaques are thus needed,” says Ewelina Wiercigroch from Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland), winner of the Silver Paper Award 2020. Atherosclerotic plaques form at arterial walls and narrow the blood vessels. Monitoring the stability of the plaques is of clinical relevance because their rupture can result in a stroke or heart attack. As smooth muscle cells (SMCs) play a key role in stabilizing the plaques, their presence can serve as a marker for plaque stability. Ewelina Wiercigroch, Elzbieta Stepula, Lukasz Mateuszuk, Yuying Zhang, Malgorzata Baranska, Stefan Chlopicki, Sebastian Schlücker and Kamilla Malek from Jagiellonian University and the University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany) demonstrated the suitability of immuno surface-enhanced Raman scattering (iSERS) microscopy for staining SMCs in atherosclerotic plaques. SERS labels were conjugated either with a primary antibody directed against α-actin of SMCs (direct iSERS) or with an appropriate secondary antibody (indirect iSERS). The iSERS images of mouse artery sections visualized regions containing SMCs and cluster analysis allowed the quantification of the percentage of SMCs located in the plaques. Results from iSERS staining agreed qualitatively and quantitatively with those from immunofluorescence (IF) staining. IF is the current gold standard in visualizing atherosclerotic constituents, but iSERS offers some advantages, such as higher photostability. The study thus establishes iSERS as a promising technique for visualizing and quantifying SMCs in atherosclerotic plaques.
The Paper Award BRONZE: Correlative Raman imaging of polymeric materials
Ruth Schmidt from Graz University of Technology (Graz, Austria) receives the Bronze Paper Award 2020, together with her colleagues Harald Fitzek, Manfred Nachtnebel, Claudia Mayrhofer, Hartmuth Schröttner and Armin Zankel. The group demonstrated the potential of correlative Raman Imaging and Scanning Electron (RISE) microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (EDXS) for investigating polymers. Polymeric materials are popular in many applications due to their wide variety of useful properties, such as high elasticity or toughness. For characterizing their properties, the advantages of three imaging techniques were combined. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) acquired high-resolution structural information, while Raman imaging revealed the chemical composition and was complemented by elemental information from EDXS. The publication provides a detailed methodology chapter which describes different sample preparation approaches and imaging modes. For example, it explains strategies for SEM imaging without coating the sample, which would hinder subsequent Raman imaging. Three polymer specimens were investigated with RISE and EDXS, yielding complementary information from the same sample region. Coarse and fine structures of the samples were correlated with chemical properties and the layer structure of packaging materials was visualized. Particulate additives in a polymer matrix were identified and their size distribution was investigated. The authors stressed that combined SEM, Raman imaging and EDXS offers great possibilities for analyzing polymeric materials.
The competition continues: WITec Paper Award 2021
Scientists from all fields of application are invited to participate in the Paper Award 2021 contest (www.witec.de/paper-award). Articles published in 2020 in a peer-reviewed journal that feature data obtained with a WITec microscope can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org until January 31st, 2021. WITec is again looking forward to receiving many new and exceptional publications.
- Press Release Paper Award 2020 EN (PDF) (686 KB)
- Press Release Paper Award 2020 EN (DOCX) (306 KB)
- Picture Paper Award 2020 Gold (JPG) (2.4 MB)
- Picture Paper Award 2020 Silver Copyright: E. Wiercigroch (JPG) (2.1 MB)
- Picture Paper Award 2020 Bronze Copyright: FELMI-ZFE (JPG) (2.5 MB)
WITec has released a new Application Note that features measurements of semiconducting materials using 2D and 3D Raman imaging in combination with other techniques such as atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and second or third harmonic generation (SHG, THG) microscopy. See how correlative techniques can characterize crystallinity, topography, stress fields and other properties on materials such as silicon, gallium nitride and molybdenum disulfide.
To better serve our growing business in Japan, WITec K.K. has relocated the national office to Yokohama. Within a two-minute walk from the JR Kannai station and close to Yokohama Stadium, home of the Baystars baseball team, our new office is conveniently accessible from all over Japan.
In addition to delivering Raman imaging solutions with superior performance, customer satisfaction through excellent service and support is the key to WITec’s success. The new office provides a great environment for pursuing these objectives.
Our team is ready to work with existing and potential customers in the new equipment demonstration/sample measurement laboratory on their individual applications and requirements. A meeting and training space will host workshops and serve as a conference room for Japan’s Raman imaging community.
We look forward to welcoming you into our new home.
The WITec K.K. Team
1-1-5 Furo-cho, Naka-ku,
Yokohama City, Kanagawa Pref.
Physics World Magazine conducted a wide-ranging interview with WITec Co-founder and Director of Research and Development, Olaf Hollricher, in the days leading up to the MRS Fall Meeting and Exhibit at the end of last year.
The article, Confocal Raman microscopy: correlate and accumulate, highlights the versatility of the technique and the modular architecture of WITec’s microscopes. It describes how Raman imaging can be integrated with other methods within one instrument to provide a more comprehensive picture of a sample’s chemical composition and distribution. The potential of this approach, known as correlative microscopy, and the growing demand for it in the marketplace are examined. Dr. Hollricher also discusses the seemingly contradictory challenges that have been overcome in pursuit of both capability and accessibility. Two of WITec’s standout innovations, TrueSurface topographic Raman imaging, and the ParticleScout microparticle analysis tool are detailed as well.
Download the .pdf of the interview or read it on the Physics World website through the link below.
WITec's ParticleScout has been nominated for a SelectScience Scientists' Choice Award in the category of Best New Spectroscopy Product. We're very excited to be in the competition and thankful to our customers around the world for their enthusiasm.
The Scientists' Choice Awards are presented annually to recognize the laboratory products introduced in the preceding year that helped researchers the most in the course of their work. Scientists themselves directly nominate, review, and vote for the winners.
WITec's ParticleScout is an automated microparticle anaylsis tool for the alpha300 line of confocal Raman microscopes that can find, classify and identify microplastics and other particles with industry-leading speed and precision. If you'd like to voice your support for this revolutionary and timely technology, please vote through the link below. All participants are entered into a drawing for the chance to win a $500/£400/450€ Amazon Gift Card. Voting ends February 21st.
WITec GmbH, industry-leading manufacturer of 3D confocal Raman imaging and correlative microscopy systems, has updated its organizational structure in France to streamline communication and better leverage in-house technical expertise.
Dr. Maxime Tchaya, a longtime member of the WITec team, will manage the French market directly. His responsibilities include all sales activities and the coordination of technical support, equipment demonstrations and sample measurements.
Dr. Tchaya is native French speaker who began with WITec as an applications scientist before bringing his thorough, practical knowledge of WITec microscopes to the sales department. This experience will enable him to precisely address the requirements of the local client base while providing them with a direct conduit to WITec’s research and development group.
WITec renforce son service commercial et technique sur le marché français
WITec GmbH, leader de la microscopie confocale Raman 3D et fabriquant de plateformes de microscopie corrélative, renforce son organisation en France.
Dr. Maxime Tchaya, membre de longue date de l'équipe WITec, prend la responsabilité de la commercialisation et du support des solutions WITec en France.
Sa longue expérience au sein de l’équipe d’application, et son excellente connaissance du marché français, sont autant d’atouts qui lui permettront de répondre avec précision et efficacité aux besoins de la clientèle, tout en la rapprochant davantage de l’équipe R&D pour les demandes spécifiques.
Dr. Maxime Tchaya
Area Manager France - Canada - Poland
89081 Ulm, Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 731 140700