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YEREVAN. – A cost-efficient educational instrument for determining the circular dichroism (CD) has been created in Armenia.  Its measurement is widely used in physics, chemistry, biology, nutrition and pharmaceutical industry.

CD reveals itself in difference of light absorption and polarization in right and left circles, this difference being due to the concentration of isomers with left and right shifts. This is a very important parameter for characterizing optically active environments, most of the biological agents being exactly such. That is why this topic is studied at universities.

The author of the project, Senior Fellow of the Center of Semiconductor Devices and Nanotechnologies of the Yerevan State University (YSU), Hakob Margaryan, told Armenian News – NEWS.am that the CD measuring devices currently presented at the market are designed for scientific research centers and cost approximately $100,000.  Apart form this, they require special preparation of support personnel, the measurement lasting from a few minutes to an hour.  

“The device created by us is designed only for use in educational labs and it costs much cheaper—$2,000-3,000. The device is simple in its use, is small-sized and takes measurement in real time,” Margaryan noted.  

The device has been successfully tested in the BEAM Co. (US) with the participation of the US Brookhaven National Laboratory.

An optical element of new generation—liquid-crystal polarization diffraction grid based on hard acid polymer—served as a basis for the development of the device. 

BEAM Co., which is the year-long partner of Armenian scientists, is the only commercial manufacturer of these polymers. “Based on these materials it is possible to create optical elements with unique characteristics,” Margaryan stressed.

The device created by the Armenian scientists measures CD on one definite wave length, while the devices presented in the market do this in a wide spectral range. “But on the other hand, students don’t need to do fundamental research: What they need is to get a general idea about what dischroism is and how it can be measured. And if they become  Ph.D. students or scientific fellows, then let them take measurements by serious and expensive equipment,” he noted.

Dozens and even hundreds of universities in the Middle East alone are the potential buyers of the new device. “There is no need to go far. For instance, the budget of the YSU earmarks $500,000 for the equipment of the laboratory park in 2017. As to the Russian universities, that goes without saying: in 2010 this budget amounted to $40 million in the Moscow State University alone.  And recently we received a letter form the Lausanne Polytechnical Institute (EPFL), which took interest in our device,” the scientist added.  

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