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The chemical kinetics of the silver-mediated growth of gold nanorods prepared by the reduction of gold precursor in aqueous cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) solution has been systematically studied using spectroscopic monitoring and electron microscopy. The rate of monomer depletion d[Aun+]/dt has a linear dependence on both [Aun+] and seed nuclei concentration at 30 C. Particle growth is significantly retarded by hexadecyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) and KBr, with the order ca. 1 for [Br ]. The rate of nanoparticle growth is dependent on the reducing ascorbate monoanion concentration and is consequently highly pH dependent around the pKa 1 of ascorbic acid, while AgNO3 retards the observed kinetics for both the growth of nanorods from ca. 2 nm seed nuclei and the overgrowth of Au nanorods.


The colour of blue-green bird eggs has been hypothesized to signal female quality to attending males, who may adjust their level of investment in the brood accordingly. The hypothesis has gained support in studies of Spanish pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca. We performed a cross-fostering experiment in a Norwegian population of pied flycatchers to provide an independent test of the sexually selected egg colour hypothesis in this species. Egg colour was not significantly correlated with estimates of female quality (clutch size, average egg volume, first egg laying date and feeding rate). There was a significant decrease in chroma and increase in brightness and egg volume during the laying sequence, with some marked differences between six-egg and seven-egg clutches that might reflect differences in female quality. However, we found no significant influence of egg colour (foster or original clutch) on male feeding rate or offspring viability (hatching success, average mass and fledging success) and no significant difference in feeding rate for males with six-egg and seven-egg foster or original clutches. We conclude that Norwegian male pied flycatchers do not use egg colour as a cue to female quality, thus questioning the generality of previous support for the sexually selected egg colour hypothesis from this species.

Leaf pigment content and composition provide important information about plant physiological status. Reflectance measurements offer a rapid, nondestructive technique to estimate pigment content. This paper describes a recently developed three-band conceptual model capable of remotely estimating total of chlorophylls, carotenoids and anthocyanins contents in leaves from many tree and crop species. We tuned the spectral regions used in the model in accord with pigment of interest and the optical characteristics of the leaves studied, and showed that the developed technique allowed accurate estimation of total chlorophylls, carotenoids and anthocyanins, explaining more than 91%, 70% and 93% of pigment variation, respectively. This new technique shows a great potential for noninvasive tracking of the physiological status of vegetation and the impact of environmental changes.

Hydrogen peroxide is a precursor to damage mechanisms in numerous applications; its monitoring is important and challenging. The effect of temperature on the perforomance and durability of a recently developed optical fiber sensors sensitice to the presence of hydrogen peroxide in low concentrations is investigated. The sensors are fabricated by immobilizing Prussian blue within a multilayer of electrostatically self-assembled polyelectrolytes. The sensing principle of this optical electrode relies on the change in the intensity of the reflected light when Prussian white is oxidized back to the blue state due to the presence of hydrogen peroxide. The amplitude of the intensity of the reflected light is found to vary with temperature in a quadratic fashion, but the characteristic response time which correlates with vary with temperature in a quadratic fashion, but the characteristic response time which correlates with concentration remains constant. Thus the sensing device retains its abilities to determine and quantify the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in a liquid solution. Additionally, the degradation of these fiber sensors when subjected to high temperature is examined. Four optical fiber sensing devices were subjected to different testing conditions and a characterization protocol that included: measurement of the intensity of the intensity of the cyanide strtch(2150 cm-1) via Raman micro spectroscopy; imaging with scanning electron microscopy; and measurement of the presence of iron ions using energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy.


The blue-green eggshell pigment biliverdin is an efficient antioxidant, the deposition of which may be costly and act as a handicap to the female’s antioxidant capacity. Thus, it is hypothesized that there exists a positive correlation between the degree of eggshell coloration and the condition and health state of the mother. In this study, we measured the blue-green chroma of collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis eggs, and investigated the associations between egg colour and parental characteristics, laying date, clutch size and laying order. We also analysed the possible correlations between egg size, yolk carotenoid and antibody levels and eggshell pigmentation. Our results revealed no significant relationships between egg colour and female age, morphological and serological variables. Blue-green colour intensity of eggs increased throughout the breeding season, which could be the result of either a proximate constraint or an adaptive strategy. We found a positive association between egg colour saturation and yolk lutein concentration. This relationship could be the result of the seasonal improvement of caterpillar supply, which could influence the deposition of both components into the egg. Furthermore, we found that females mated to lower-quality males produced eggs with higher biliverdin pigmentation. It is possible that deposition of biliverdin is correlated to some unmeasured aspect of egg quality that could enhance the viability of offspring of lower-quality fathers. We found that intensity of blue-green coloration increased with laying order between the first and fifth eggs.

Sarin (C4H10FO2P,O-isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate) is a colourless, odourless and highly toxic phosphonate that acts as a cholinesterase inhibitor and disrupts neuromuscular transmission. Sarin and related phosphonates are chemical warfare agents, and there is a possibility of their application in a military or terrorist attack. This paper reports a lab-on-a-chip device for detecting a trace amount of sarin in a small volume of blood. The device should allow early detection of sarin exposure during medical triage to differentiate between those requiring medical treatment from mass psychogenic illness cases. The device is based on continuous-flow microfluidics with sequential stages for lysis of whole blood, regeneration of free nerve agent from its complex with blood cholinesterase, protein precipitation, filtration, enzyme-assisted reaction and optical detection. Whole blood was first mixed with a nerve gas regeneration agent, followed by a protein precipitation step. Subsequently, the lysed product was filtered on the chip in two steps to remove particulates and fluoride ions. The filtered blood sample was then tested for trace levels of regenerated sarin using immobilised cholinesterase on the chip. Activity of immobilized cholinesterase was monitored by the enzyme-assisted reaction of a substrate and reaction of the end-product with a chromophore. Resultant changes in chromophore-induced absorbance were recorded on the chip using a Z-shaped optical window. Loss of enzyme activity obtained prior and after passage of the treated blood sample, as shown by a decrease in recorded absorbance values, indicates the presence of either free or regenerated sarin in the blood sample. The device was fabricated in PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) using CO2-laser micromachining. This paper reports the testing results of the different stages, as well as the whole device with all stages in the required assay sequence. The results demonstrate the potential use of a field-deployable hand-held device for point-of-care triage of suspected nerve agent casualties.

A low cost LED based spectrometer is described. This LED based spectrometer could be operated as a standalone instrument or under PC control via serial link. A total of seven wavelength selections are available by the plug-and-measure LED light module. With the seven wavelength selections, the LED based spectrometer could provide qualitative visible absorption spectra that predict the absorption maximum. Based upon the qualitative visible spectra, quantitative photometric information could be obtained.

This thesis presents the results of an analysis of predicting phytoplankton pigment concentrations (chlorophyll a and phycocyanin) from remotely sensed imagery. Hyperspectral airborne and hand-held reflectance spectra were acquired on three reservoirs (Geist, Morse and Eagle Creek) in Central Indiana, USA. Concurrent with the reflectance acquisition, in situ samples were collected and analyzed in laboratories to quantify the pigment concentration and other water quality parameters. The resultant concentration was then linked to Airborne Imaging Spectrometer for Applications (AISA) reflectance spectra for the sampling stations to develop predictive models. AISA reflectance spectra were extracted from the imagery which had been processed for radiometric calibration and geometric correction. Several previously published algorithms were examined for the estimation of pigment concentration from the spectra. High coefficients of determination were achieved for predicting chlorophyll a in two of the three reservoirs (Geist R2 = 0.712, Morse R2 = 0.895 and Eagle Creek Reservoir R2 = 0.392). This situation was similar for PC prediction, where two of the three reservoirs had high coefficients of determination between pigment concentration and reflectance (Geist R2 = 0.805, Morse R2 = 0.878 and Eagle Creek Reservoir R2 = 0.316). The results of this study show that reflectance spectra collected with an airborne hyperspectral imager are statistically significant, p < 0.03, in predicting chlorophyll a and phycocyanin pigment concentration in all three reservoirs in this study without the consideration of other parameters. The algorithms were then applied to the AISA image to generate high spatial resolution (1 m2) maps of Chlorophyll a and Phycocyanin distribution for each reservoir.