Review 2021

    • 17th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium

      The 17th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium took place from September 27 to October 1, 2021. Due to continued travel complications and planning uncertainties, we hosted the event virtually. In 2020, we organized the Virtual Raman Imaging Poster Summit as a substitute for the annual on-site event and it was received enthusiastically by the international Raman microscopy community. We therefore decided to adopt and extend the format for 2021. In addition to the established online poster session, the 17th Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium featured oral presentations by renowned scientists and online equipment demonstration sessions.

      The Symposium was a great success and we thank everyone for contributing. We received more than 500 registrations for the event, about twice as many as for the previous year’s Poster Summit. We are very happy that the Raman community continues to embrace this annual forum for scientific exchange.

      We have published a press release summarizing the Symposium in English and in German (PDF downloads).

    • Oral Presentations and Posters

      The oral presentations included a detailed introduction to Raman spectroscopy and microscopy by Prof. Sebastian Schlücker from the University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen, Germany. A selection of up-to-date research topics was presented by the other four featured speakers: Prof. Barbara Cavalazzi from the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy; Prof. Dominique Lunter from the Eberhard Karls University in Tübingen, Germany; Dr. Ute Schmidt from WITec GmbH in Ulm, Germany; and Prof. Laurene Tetard from the University of Central Florida in Orlando, USA.

      The 55 scientific posters were grouped into three categories: Advanced Materials Analysis;  Environmental and Geo Science; and Life Sciences, Biomedical and Pharma Research.

      For a more detailed overview of the presented contents, please browse through our Book of Abstracts (PDF download), in which all submitted abstracts are compiled. Thank you to everyone for sharing their fascinating Raman applications.

  • WITec Cover AbstractBook RamanSymposium2021 web
    Download the abstract book (PDF) of the Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium 2021 by clicking on the cover image.

Best Poster Award Winner

  • BestPosterAward2021 JessicaCaldwell AdolpheMerkleInstitute UniversityOfFribourg web
    Best Poster Award Winner Jessica Caldwell presents the certificate in front of her poster about detecting nanoplastics using gold nanoparticle-based SERS substrates. © Jessica Caldwell, Adolphe Merkle Institute, University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Click for high-resolution download.
  • Jessica Caldwell from the Adolphe Merkle Institute at the University of Fribourg (Fribourg, Switzerland) won the Best Poster Award for her contribution “Detection of Various Nanoplastics via Gold Nanoparticle-Based Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) Substrates”. Together with her colleagues Patricia Taladriz-Blanco, Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser and Alke Petri-Fink, she explored one of the most resonant topics in contemporary science: the detection of micro- and nanoplastic particles.

    Microplastic particles have become ubiquitous in the environment as they arise from, for example: the degradation of plastic waste; the washing of synthetic clothing; or tire wear. The term microplastics refers to particles in the range from 5 mm to 1 µm and nanoplastic particles are even smaller (< 100 nm). Their potentially harmful effects on organisms and the environment are under continued investigation and techniques for detecting these very small objects are therefore required. Jessica Caldwell and her colleagues use SERS for identifying nanoplastic particles. They produce and optimize SERS substrates using gold nanoparticles, which can enhance the Raman signal of the plastic particles and thus facilitate their detection. On her poster, Jessica Caldwell presented Raman data from polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) particles of different sizes (all < 200 nm) on different SERS substrates and compared the achieved signal enhancement factors and limits of detection. With an optimized substrate, she was able to detect particle concentrations as low as 10 µg/ml. Of course, the ultimate aim is to detect nanoplastics in environmental samples, i.e. at concentrations below 1 µg/ml. Jessica Caldwell expects that this goal can be reached by further optimizing the SERS substrates.

    The presented data was part of a project whose final results were published in Caldwell et al. (2021) Nanomaterials 11: 1149, DOI: 10.3390/nano11051149.

  • Top Five Posters

    During the first three conference days, all participants were able to rate the quality of the displayed posters on a scale from 1 to 10. Jessica Caldwell’s poster received the highest average rate, securing her the Award. The competition, however, was fierce, with the top five posters all receiving average ratings of more than 8 out of 10. The top five in order of abstract number are:

    • A-057: “Confocal Raman imaging of hydrogel coated microfiber scaffolds” by Tobias Kielholz from Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    • A-075: “In Vivo Biomolecular Imaging of Zebrafish Embryos using Confocal Raman Spectroscopy” by Håkon Høgset from Imperial College London in London, UK
    • A-089: “Tracking mucus secretion in in vitro models of the human intestinal mucosa” by Nathalie Jung from Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, Germany
    • A-095: “Detection of Various Nanoplastics via Gold Nanoparticle-Based Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) Substrates” by Jessica Caldwell from the University of Fribourg in Fribourg, Switzerland
    • A-109: “Biochemical characterization and discrimination of B-type acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) by Raman” by Patrycja Leszczenko from Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland

    You can read more about all of the contributions in the Book of Abstracts (PDF download).

  • ePoster Gallery Impressions

    • This short video permits a glimpse of the ePoster gallery. Five oral presentations and 55 posters were on display as shown here. They could also be sorted by topic and the details of each poster could be viewed in full-screen mode.

Instrument Demonstrations

  • WITec RamanSymposium2021 DemoSession web
    Impressions from the online equipment demonstrations. WITec application scientists Thomas Meyer (left) and Nour Hafi (right) show correlative Raman-AFM measurements with the alpha300 RA. The lower right picture shows the topography of a polymer blend being recorded during the demo.
  • In previous years, one day of the Confocal Raman Imaging Symposium was dedicated to equipment demonstrations at WITec headquarters, which offered the participants the possibility for in-depth discussions with WITec application scientists. To provide this opportunity during the virtual Symposium in 2021, a series of online equipment demonstration sessions was offered during which participants could see different Raman imaging technologies in action and ask questions. WITec application scientists demonstrated confocal Raman imaging, Raman-AFM, topographic Raman imaging, and Raman-based particle analysis coupled to a spectral database.