Science In Action

Welcome to Science in Action. Our new series showcasing how our technologies, scientists, design and software engineers, and solutions are applied to real-world situations. From drilling thousands of feet below the icy surface of Antarctica to exploring concepts of life on other planets, our stories will stimulate your imagination and open new possibilities in your own scientific endeavors.

Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland in their University of Rochester lab in the 1980s.

Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland in their University of Rochester lab in the 1980s.

Mishaps and ski trip lead to laser revolution

Mourou’s goal was to develop an ultra-short, high-intensity laser pulse without destroying the equipment used to produce it.

Carbon black lightens your wallet

Rafael Vargas, Ph.D. in his Birla Carbon technology lab with a HORIBA Ultima Expert ICP-OES

Carbon black is a unique substance. Manufacturers make it through the partial combustion or thermal decomposition of gaseous or liquid hydrocarbons. Its physical appearance is that of a black, finely divided pellet or powder.

How fusion breakthroughs will lead to clean renewable energy

Chase Taylor, Ph.D.

Nuclear fusion is viewed by many as the holy grail of clean, renewable energy.

Making better gas turbines

Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee

Large, land-based gas turbines are the worker bees behind energy production. These devices convert the heat from nuclear fuel, concentrated solar power and fossil fuels like coal and gas, into electricity.

Using low temperatures to probe 2D materials for device applications

HORIBA LabRAM HR Evolution Raman Spectrometer

“People strive to make devices faster and more energy efficient,” she said. “If we can study the fundamental properties and see if proposed materials would be suitable for these types of applications, it can help people design or make devices.”

Materials characterization crucial in Silicon Valley systems

Fuhe Li, the Director of Advanced Materials for Air Liquide Balazs

A semiconductor manufacturer in the Silicon Valley faced a sizable setback. Something was contaminating its product, and the company halted production.

Designing a new breed of nuclear reactors

Adriean Couet, Ph.D

To most scientists, climate change is real. The challenge is to find more and better energy sources to generate electricity that do not emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

How to measure temperature with light

Sukwon Choi, Ph.D., and Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State University

Satellite communications, military radar systems and those 5-G networks you will soon depend on have something in common. Scientists base these systems on microelectronics – the design, manufacture, and use of integrated circuits.

Fingerprint identifications lead to killers

Donna Carmichael Forensic investigation of a limb using alternative light sources

A car forced another to pull over alongside a road in St. Lucie County, Florida. A family of four occupied the other car - a mother, a father and two children, ages four and five.

Companies collaborate for better water treatment

Aqualog®, provides the fastest and most sensitive optical analysis of organics in water

Dave met HORIBA around 2015. HORIBA offered the Aqualog®, which provides the fastest and most sensitive optical analysis of organics in water. It is the only instrument to simultaneously measure both absorbance spectra and fluorescence Excitation-Emission Matrices (A-TEEMs), which are acquired up to a 100 times faster than with other instruments.

Is this the next breakthrough in medicine?

Imaging of cellular structures in living cells

Groups of researchers are taking a giant leap in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. They are applying an established technology ― Raman spectroscopy ― to biomedical research.

How we customized a spectroscopy solution in the low UV range

custom spectrometer designed and built by HORIBA Scientific

The United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) faced a challenge. It wanted to conduct photoemission spectroscopy in the extreme low UV range using a tunable light source. It’s a difficult application. No off-the-shelf instruments existed to achieve its goals.

Should you be worried about nanotoxicity?

Tiny engineered materials – one million times thinner than a human hair – have become staples in medicine, engineering, catalysis, manufacturing and environmental remediation. Yet does the nature of these nanomaterials pose a toxic threat to living creatures?

How do thin films help NASA uncover the secrets to the universe?

The James Webb Space Telescope in production

The James Webb Space Telescope, launching in March 2021, will study every phase in the history of our cosmos. 

Targeting toxic waste with minerals

Aaron Celestian's research uses Raman and XRF Spectroscopy to discover which minerals to treat toxic waste with and heal our world.

Museum’s mineral studies improving life

Aaron Celestian, Ph.D.

Large vaulted ceilings, old woodwork and stained glass dating back to the early 1900s overpowers you as you walk into the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

Thin film analysis reveals secrets to renewable energy

Student operating a HORIBA UVISEL Spectroscopic Ellipsometer

Ina Martin wants to change the world.

How? By making renewable energy sources more durable, cheaper and better.

Medical examiner department ID’s deaths with alternative light sources

Heidi Nichols, a forensic photographer with the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's office

A vehicle hit and killed a pedestrian in Florida’s sprawling Miami-Dade County. Police searched for evidence of the perpetrator.

Using renewable and alternative sources for value-added products production

Inside a small, neat lab, tucked away inside the engineering building at Rutgers University in New Jersey, a researcher is trying to use cheap and renewable sources in order to upgrade them to new useful products and fuels.

Photovoltaics and photoluminescence

Photovoltaics and Photoluminescence

Watch the interview with Taylor Harvey, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University-Central Texas on Next Generation Photovoltaics

Photoluminescence contributes to staggering growth of photovoltaics

Taylor Harvey, Ph.D., of Texas A&M University-Central Texas

No one likes to change the batteries on a dead clock. But imagine if the numbers on that clock were painted with a special dark ink.

Raman gets the goods on counterfeiters

Mark Witkowski works for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He’s a chemist with the Trace Examination Section of the Forensic Chemistry Center. 

Health benefits of olive oils get boost

Ewa Sikorska is an associate professor at Poznań University

Scientists believe phenolic compounds, like those found in olive oil, can contribute to a lower rate of coronary heart disease and prostate and colon cancers.

Nanotechnology a pathway to efficient solar energy

Justin Sambur, Ph.D.

A Colorado group is tackling one of the largest issues facing us with some of the smallest materials known to mankind.

Researcher fights food fraud

Gene Hall is a crusader. His mission is to find mislabeled food and dietary supplement products, and reveal them to the world.

Raman spectroscopy breakthroughs make CSI real

Lednev lab

CSI, Forensic Files and Bones are all must see TV crime shows based on forensics. But as they say, the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Fluorescent carbon nanodots: making foldable displays

Doo-Young Kim, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Kentucky.

Imagine reading a newspaper with an LED-like display that folds to fit in your pocket. 

Making more efficient solar energy

Richard Loomis, Ph.D.

Richard Loomis is trying to make a better solar cell. And he’s taken a road off the beaten path to achieve that goal.

Alternative light sources and AFIS help identify murder suspects

fingerprint identified by an alternative light source

A motel room in Indian River County, Florida was about to become the scene of a homicide.

Photodynamic therapy – a non-toxic way to fight cancer

Gang Han, Ph. D, the principal investigator at Han Lab

Doctors can treat certain types of cancers with non-toxic light-emitting molecules, photosensitizers, and light. This is the essence of Photodynamic therapy, an up and coming treatment model for certain cancers. 

Finding ancient life through minerals on earth and beyond

Mineral distributions determined by Raman spectroscopy

Visualize slicing a rock so thin it’s transparent to the eye. That’s what Eric Ellison must do to study which minerals host life.

Killing cancer with lanthanides and air

Lanthanide oxides

Imagine killing cancer cells with oxygen compounds. Then tracking the cancer’s metabolism with near ultraviolet light sources. That’s the potential result of the pioneering work by a team at the University of Nevada-Reno.

The science of food

Richard Ludescher from Rutgers University

This is the field of food science. Each food has its own unique food problem. And food scientists are responsible for designing ways to manufacture and preserve the quality and safety of those foods throughout its lifecycle.

Man of science follows business path

Andrew Whitley

The classically trained Ph.D. just won the prestigious Charles Mann Award from the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) for his body of work.

Fine wine-making with the help of HORIBA tech

Wineries typically send out samples of the grapes to analytical labs to be tested on costly, hard to maintain equipment. 

Forensic light sources nab the suspects

CrimeScope CS-16-500W

Alternative light sources used by crime scene investigators help them identify evidence left by suspects at a crime scene.

Low cost solar power on the horizon

Solar Cells

A material unfamiliar to the masses may provide a huge leap in solar energy technology over the next few years.

Discovering the origins of life

Andrew Czaja

Andrew Czaja is a rock star. The University of Cincinnati geology professor studies paleobiology – the study of ancient life. 

An act of mercy in Baltimore

Part of that evidence collection was the use of an Alternative Light Source (ALS), like the ones made by SPEX Forensics, a Division of HORIBA Scientific. 

Versatile Aqualog saves chemical costs at treatment plants

Aqualog Water Treatment Plant Analyzer

The primary role of a drinking water treatment plant is to provide clean drinking (disinfected) water.

Microplastics a big problem for the environment

A common accessory - the plastic straw -  is contributing to a type of contaminant affecting our ecosystems, not to mention the human food chain.

Investigating missing carbon in Australian caves

Prof. Andy Baker

Their destination was the Wombeyan Caves, a part of Australia’s National Parks and Wildlife Service. Their mission was to find missing carbon.

Duetta: absorbance and fluorescence - in the blink of an eye

Now, HORIBA Scientific has developed the perfect supplement for these highly capable research spectrofluorometers. 

SPEX Forensics algorithms used to solve cold cases

PrintQuest™ Systems include both the Automated Fingerprint Identification and Automated Palmprint Identification capabilities.

In one case, using an innovation created by SPEX Forensics, a division of HORIBA Instruments, a suspect was subsequently linked by fingerprints to 32 different outstanding felony cases.

Elemental analysis and a cold brew

That’s where elemental analysis comes in. It’s used in a number of industries, including metallurgy and power supplies for automobiles. It allows us to design vehicles that won’t corrode, fade or fall apart. 

Drilling deep to discover life

This winter, John Priscu plans to drill thousands of feet below the frozen ice of Antarctica and expects to find living creatures. If he’s successful, it could help change the way we see our planet.


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