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Reactions: Light sensitivity of nanopore devices and a stamp honoring Carl Djerassi

November 23, 2023 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 101, Issue 39


Letters to the editor

I found the story on page 6 of the Oct. 16 issue very interesting. It will be a complex matter to elucidate as the emission spectrum of laboratory lighting surely varies from one location to the next, within a range of tolerance, of course.

The idea that light affects the rate and success of chemical transformations is not new, but our light sources are changing, which might mean we should be looking at the emission spectrum more closely than ever, and not only the visible spectrum. It would also be prudent to verify which wavelengths are transmitted through the instrument casing and window, as it is an extra level of interaction. I’ve heard the expression “Wonderful things happen in the dark” regarding developing photographs from film, but certainly, wonderful things can happen in the light as well. After all, in an earlier C&EN issue, perhaps last year, an article appeared on how glassware is not as inert as we thought it was.

My best guess? My mind immediately thought, Is the nanopore material photovoltaic to some extent? Converting ambient photons to electrical energy could generate noise, but why would it slow down the analysis process?

I do hope Oxford Nanopore Technologies figures out what is causing this—it remains a puzzle, but also, some of the best discoveries happen by accident.

Gaetan LeClair
Fredericton, New Brunswick

A postage stamp to honor Carl Djerassi’s life and work was issued in Austria early in 2005. Shortly thereafter, he wrote a brief article to document the story behind the colorful postal tribute( Philatelia Chim. Phys. 2005, 27, 68). The note showcases his idiosyncratic writing style and describes the stamp’s unique features, including the background image of his face composed entirely of microscopic steroid structures. He was particularly pleased with the inclusion in the perforated stamp of an image of a bridge crossing the Danube Canal in his native Vienna, very close to where he lived until being forced to leave Austria in 1938.

Daniel Rabinovich
High Point, North Carolina



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