• STFC Scientist Wins International Recognition

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STFC Scientist Wins International Recognition

Mar 09 2009

A scientist based at the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Didcot has won an international award after developing a novel laser technique with the potential to discover powder
explosives, illicit drugs and help diagnose cancer and bone disease. Professor Pavel Matousek, who works within the Lasers for Science Facility division of the Central Laser Facility (CLF) run by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) has been given the Charles Mann Award 2009 for Applied Spectroscopy. It’s awarded by the international Federation of the Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS) for individuals who’ve demonstrated advancement in the field of applied Raman Spectroscopy, an analytical technique commonly used in chemistry and biology as a fingerprint to distinguish different molecules. The award will be presented at the FACSS’s Annual Meeting of the Federation in Louisville, Kentucky, USA in October 2009. Professor Matousek’s recent work has included the development of Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS). The revolutionary technique allows specific substances to be detected deeper beneath surfaces of non see-through materials. This has far-reaching potential and further investigations are being carried out to see if the technology can be used to detect cancer and bone disease, because it can be used to safely see beneath the surface of skin. Research has also established the technique’s ability to detect concealed liquid and powder. LiteThru Limited is STFC’s spin-out company with exclusive access to the technology developed by Professor Matousek and his co-workers. It’s already working using his methods to develop a device which can quickly detect the quality of pharmaceutical drugs. Dr Darren Andrews, the Chief Executive of LiteThru, said: "Pavel has done something quite incredible - he has redefined the
possibilities of Raman spectroscopy and demonstrated the benefits of this both academically and commercially. An outstanding achievement." Professor Matousek said: "I am delighted with the award and would like to thank all my collaborators, both within and outside the STFC, for their vital contribution to this success. I am also thrilled with the vibrant environment at the STFC enabling us to engage in world-leading science and also to make an effective use of new ideas and discoveries for the direct benefit of our society."

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