3
$\begingroup$

Is there any famous experiment in chemistry where digital signal processing played an important part? I don't mean using a machine that relies on such techniques (they all do) but an experiment where signals were first recorded (e.g. temperature/pressure/voltage/etc. as a function of time) and then analyzed with some sophisticated methods (e.g. time-frequency analysis with wavelets).

$\endgroup$
3
  • $\begingroup$ You mean something like Spectrograph $\endgroup$
    – Freddy
    Jan 18, 2015 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ No, I don't mean that. $\endgroup$
    – tag
    Jan 18, 2015 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ I do not understand. How would you imagine doing an experiment with signal recording without a machine? Do you mean some pioneering experiment, where a guy measured some curve, which had no sense. Than he applied signal processing by hand and voila, nice results? And it was so nice, he build it into automated machine with DSP. $\endgroup$
    – ssavec
    Jan 19, 2015 at 9:57

2 Answers 2

1
$\begingroup$

Many spectroscopic experiments record analog data, which is subsequently Fourier transformed to give a frequency-domain spectrum. For example, in a nuclear magnetic resonance experiment, the signal emitted by an excited nucleus is picked up as a voltage in an RF coil for 1-2 sec. This time-domain signal is processed then converted to the frequency domain by FT.

As for 'popular', Richard Ernst won the 1991 Nobel in Chemistry for his contributions to this field of research.

$\endgroup$
1
  • $\begingroup$ Many mass spectrometers (ion cyclotron and also "orbitrap" instruments) now also work by Fourier transform. $\endgroup$
    – Curt F.
    Feb 23, 2015 at 7:39
1
$\begingroup$

How about the patch-clamp technique in neurochemistry? This technique allowed the study of ionic currents through single molecules of a voltage-gated ion channel. It won the Nobel prize in 1991.

The signal processing required to simply observe the single-molecule opening and closing events is fairly minor. However, processing single-molecule ion-current data for multiple experiments when inhibitors are titrated, or to compare ensemble-average kinetics to single- molecule kinetics, can be fairly complex.

Here is a paper from 1998 on single-molecule enzymology; it's an extension of the patch-clamp experiments developed for the specific case of single-molecule ion channels: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/282/5395/1877.full Read the paper for a better description of some of the signal processing involved.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.