PITTCON 2001: The Voyage of Discovery

Companies involved in instrumentation and analysis are set to embark on a Voyage of Discovery at PITTCON 2001, to be held March 4-9 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La. Over the past year, dozens of new instruments and testing methods have been developed, and these innovations will be on display at over 1200 company exhibits at the show. Additionally, more than 2500 papers and posters, and over 50 short courses will be presented during the technical sessions. For anyone who tests, inspects, analyzes, characterizes, measures or evaluates products and/or materials, this is the place to find what you need.

New Product Introductions

Besides the products showcased at the exhibitors’ booths, a New Product Forum will give visitors a chance to preview new products, techniques and equipment. The first of its kind to be organized at PITTCON, the forum will be held on Sunday, March 4, and will be composed of over 30 presentations.

Among the technologies highlighted at the forum will be angular scattering measurements that can determine the effects of particle shape on particle size resolution, presented by Michael Trainer from Microtrac; innovative software solutions for the lab, discussed by Steve Bolton from Labtronics; Silcosteel Enhancements for Analytical Sampling and Measurement, presented by William Gittler and Ann Pennino, Praxair Specialty Gases and Equipment; and new balance technology, discussed by George Deziel from A&D Weighing.

Additionally, Daniela Stroe from Anter will present a discussion on high speed thermal properties testing for the laboratory; Claus Linseis from Linseis, Inc. will introduce the idea of dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA) by means of fast Fourier transformation (FFT); Cliff McKeown from Instruments for Research and Industry will talk about on/off temperature control versus PID temperature control; and Doug Baer from Informed Diagnostics will discuss ultra-sensitive gas measurement systems based on cavity ringdown spectroscopy. Other presentations will cover topics ranging from new spectrometers to new laser-light scattering technology to plant quality control instrumentation.

Technical Sessions

Those wishing to obtain more in-depth information about new developments in the scientific community will almost undoubtedly find their topic of interest headlining one of the presentations at the technical sessions.

For instance, it has become clear over the years that scientific instrumentation has been the engine that drives new scientific developments. Yet, to many, the development, study and improvement of scientific instrumentation seems to be little more than tinkering, an effort hardly worthy of study and not deserving the recognition of being regarded as a field of scholarly investigation. A symposium titled “Instrumentation—The Enabling Science” has been organized to answer this challenge. Top scientists in the field of analytical chemistry will not only detail their own successes in instrumentation and measurement development, but also will provide a philosophical framework for the science of instrumentation and measurements. Nanotechnology, Fourier transform mass spectrometry, array detectors and mass spectrometry will be just some of the techniques discussed in this session.

A symposium titled “Frontiers of Scanning Electrochemical Microscopy (SECM)” will discuss how this technology has developed into an important scanning probe method for studying surface chemistry in solution. It has been applied to biological systems, electrodes, crystals, semiconductors, membranes and a variety of other types of samples. It has also proven useful in obtaining quantitative information about surface reaction rates, such as the rate of electron transfer and dissolution reactions. Active practitioners in SECM will provide an overview of the field with views towards future developments, such as the combination of SECM with other scanning probe methods, including atomic force microscopy (AFM) and near-field scanning optical microscopy (NSOM).

“Frontiers in Infrared Spectral Imaging: From Remote Sensing to the Analytical Laboratory” will feature a discussion on high-speed infrared focal-plane array (FPA) detectors and solid-state tunable filter technology. Using this technology, it is possible to collect hundreds of thousands of spatially resolved spectra simultaneously and very rapidly. Another presentation in this session will describe how a Fourier transform spectrometer (FTS) with a two dimensional, 16,384 pixel image operating in the 3 to 5 micrometer region was developed using new FPA technology. Measured data have been remotely collected from various laboratory scenes and sources to demonstrate and evaluate the performance of this very sensitive and powerful spectral imager.

“Direct Analysis of Solid Samples Using Electrothermal Atomization and Vaporization Techniques in AAS and ICP-MS” will discuss the use of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and electrothermal atomic absorption spectrometry (ETAAS) to measure solids, such as high-tech ceramics for superconductors, etc., that are produced from high-purity metal oxides, nitrides, carbides, borides and/or high-purity refractory metals such as molybdenum, tantalum, tungsten or zirconium. Even ultra-traces of alkali, alkaline earth and some transition metals can influence the properties of these superconductors dramatically. In the past, bringing these samples into the solution required for measurement was not only very time consuming, it also impaired the detection limits of even the most sensitive solution techniques (due to increased reagent blank values) to an extent that they could no longer meet their requirements. Both ETAAS and electrothermal vaporization (ETV) coupled to ICP-MS are extremely promising techniques for this kind of application.

Other papers will discuss analytical tools for high throughput chemical analysis, developments in the solid state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) characterization of materials, sample preparation for on-site analysis, and a variety of other topics.

For More Information

For more information about PITTCON 2001, contact The Pittsburgh Conference, 300 Penn Center Blvd., Pittsburgh, PA 15235; (412) 825-3220; fax (412) 825-3224; or visit http://www. appcluster05.com/pittconsplash.cfm

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