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Inside Instrumentation

Technology and Business news for the laboratory world

by Inside Instrumentation is written by Celia H. Arnaud and Ann M. Thayer
April 28, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 17


Center Targets Drugs In Drinking Water

The Department of Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has launched the Center for Environmental Mass Spectrometry. CEMS will focus on detecting drugs, hormones, and other organic contaminants in water and on evaluating the effectiveness of methods for removing them. Agilent Technologies is providing the liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry instrumentation for the lab. Some of the lab's goals are to define the problem, underscore the need for testing and treatment at the municipal level, and evaluate various water-treatment options.

Bruker, IFW In Technology Deal

Bruker's Advanced Supercon business is working with the Leibniz Institute for Solid-State & Materials Research in Dresden, Germany, (IFW Dresden) to develop magnesium diboride superconducting wire. The collaboration combines IFW Dresden's R&D work on MgB2 materials with Bruker's large-scale manufacturing capabilities. The partners hope to produce the first 1-km-long wire segment within a year. Eventually they want to use such wires to make magnets that can operate without liquid helium at temperatures above 10 K. Such magnets may find use in magnetic resonance imaging, high-energy physics, and fusion research.

PerkinElmer Expands In Singapore

PerkinElmer has opened a Center of Excellence in Singapore. Research there will focus on developing new instrumentation and chemistries for applications in drug discovery and development, environmental monitoring, food safety, and sustainable energy. In addition, work will focus on expanding the company's EcoAnalytix family of analytical solutions. The investment will enable PerkinElmer to leverage in-country expertise and resources to help meet the changing needs of its global customers, Chief Scientific Officer Daniel R. Marshak says.

Veeco Previews New AFM Mode

Credit: Veeco
Credit: Veeco

Veeco Instruments gave scientists a sneak peek at a new atomic force microscopy mode during a recent American Physical Society meeting. The HarmoniX mode, performed with the company's NanoScope V controller, allows researchers to obtain high-resolution images and quantitative material properties simultaneously. The method acquires real-time force curves by measuring the torsional motion each time the T-shaped cantilever (silver) with offset tip interacts with the sample surface (gray and green). These force curves can then be used for quantitative material mapping and the calculation of multiple sample characteristics such as elasticity and adhesion. The company claims that the method is 250 times faster than conventional methods. HarmoniX will be available to customers in June.

Biotage Launches Two New Products

Biotage of Uppsala, Sweden, has launched the PyroMark Q24 system based on technology from its Pyrosequencing subsidiary for studying genetic and epigenetic variations in genes. Designed for low-throughput applications and the handling of fewer samples, the system can run and analyze both mutation and methylation assays on the same 24-well plate. The pathology department at Uppsala University Hospital is evaluating the PyroMark Q24 for cancer diagnosis. Separately, Biotage has introduced the Advancer Kilobatch, an automated batch microwave synthesizer, which can be used to produce kilogram quantities of material.

Firms Acquire Instrumentation And Service Operations

Three instrumentation companies have recently expanded their operations by acquiring other businesses. Varian has purchased Oxford Diffraction, a privately owned firm that develops X-ray crystallography systems. Varian will pay about $37 million in cash and assumed debt for the Abingdon, U.K.-based company and could pay another $10 million if certain sales goals are met. In another deal, Agilent Technologies has completed its acquisition of TILL Photonics. The company is a spin-off of the University of Munich that develops, makes, and sells optical fluorescence microscopy products for life science applications. And PerkinElmer has bought LabMetrix Technologies to expand its OneSource laboratory services business. LabMetrix provides metrology-based methods for the verification and qualification of analytical instruments from different vendors.

Inside Instrumentation is written by Celia H. Arnaud and Ann M. Thayer. Contact them via e-mail to


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