Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Analyst. 2004 Oct;129(10):956-62. Epub 2004 Aug 23.

Raman spectroscopic analyses of preserved historical specimens of human hair attributed to Robert Stephenson and Sir Isaac Newton.

Author information

  • 1Chemical and Forensic Sciences, The School of Pharmacy, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK BD7 1DP. h.g.m.edwards@bradford.ac.uk

Abstract

The Raman spectra of two historical specimens of human hair attributed to the engineer Robert Stephenson and scientist Sir Isaac Newton, preserved in private collections are reported. Comparisons are made with the Raman spectra of modern hair specimens and with hair from archaeological excavations. The hair spectra collected with a laser excitation of 785 nm are of a better quality than those collected using 1064 nm. The historical hair specimens are remarkably well-defined spectroscopically in terms of the amide I vibrational mode and the [small nu](SS), ascribed to a predominantly gauche-gauche-gauche CSSC conformation. The contrast with degraded hair specimens recovered from archaeological excavations is striking. The presence of a weak feature near 2590 cm(-1) in the hair samples attributed to a [small nu](SH) vibration could be indicative of a reduction process operative on the CSSC cystine keratotic linkages and a possible origin of this is bacterial biodegradation identified histologically. This study demonstrates the molecular information available from non-destructive Raman spectroscopic analysis from single hair shafts or small bundles of fibres which complements information available from histological and destructive analytical techniques for rare biological specimens subjected to conservation or curation procedures in museums or private collections.

PMID:
15457330
DOI:
10.1039/b409224b
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Royal Society of Chemistry
    Loading ...
    Support Center