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44 SPECTROSCOPY


components possess a type of ‘memory’ that enables them to vary their resistance depending on the amount of voltage that has been applied to them in the past – a function broadly comparable to the learning processes that occur when brain synapses develop variable ‘weight’ in their connections and repeatedly activate and reinforce the ‘right’ connections over others. By combining a Raman


spectrometer from Horiba Scientific and a homemade microscope as part of an experimental set-up located in the joint lab of the IOM-CNR and the Department of Physics and Geology in the University of Perugia, the team has devised a technique capable of analysing the status of living cells across a large variety of applications, as well investigating the biocompatibility of the memristive surfaces. “Te clear ability of


spectroscopy to obtain real-time information on living cells


and to characterise their status and their activity has led to its widespread use in recent years,” says Silvia Caponi, researcher at the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (Italian National Research Council). “Te advantage of this technique is that by focusing laser light on the cell we can obtain deep cellular biochemical characterisation,” she adds. Te findings will be used to


develop solutions to modern scientific and technological challenges by combining expertise in fields generally considered to be separate, such as electronics and computing architectures on the one hand and neuroscience, nanosciences and bio-electronics on the other. “Tese fields are in rapid and astonishing evolution and urgent demand exists for the realisation of platforms for testing models and mechanisms of brain functions, as well as for the ability to develop bio-electronic devices and interfaces that could


effectively interchange and transfer data between biological, or neuron, cells and electrical parts,” says Caponi. “Tis is the main ambitious purpose of the MaDEleNA project, which includes a large group of researchers from several different institutions.” One future application the team imagines is hybrid neuronal-memristor systems, where biological signal transmissions will be mapped by memristor networks – in the process exploiting their ability to interact with the electrical activity of neurons and deepening understanding of how to reproduce biological adaptive or learning mechanisms using artificial components. “Tis result would be of


great relevance in overcoming the strong limitations of present approaches based on biocompatible electrodes.”


Silvia Caponi from the Italian National Research Council


Left: Close-up of a cell analysed as part of the Italian National Research Council’s work


New probe improves measurement consistency T


he recently launched Ocean Optics Diffuse Reflectance Probe (DR-Probe) measures 45° diffuse reflectance, enhancing UV-Vis and NIR spectroscopy


results. This sampling tool removes localised variance in reflectance measurements. It is suitable for applications such as colour analysis, material identification and food quality monitoring. The DR-Probe integrates a light source and collection optics into one unit to measure 45°diffuse reflectance. With


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the probe’s collection optics fixed in place relative to the light source, the measurement geometry is constant. An included standoff accessory ensures a consistent 40mm focal length between the probe and the sample. Sampling uniformity increases the reliability and consistency of measurement results. Compatible with Ocean Optics Visible and NIR


spectrometers and accessories, the DR-Probe integrates seamlessly into experimental setups.


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