Nano-imaging micrograph of the teeth in the 'pterosaur head in amber' taken using fluorescence and with scale provided on image. Fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation. It is a form of luminescence. Fluorescence is a very useful diagnostic tool for both amber and its inclusions. Fluorescence can be achieved using various different wavelengths and in the laboratory a variety are used in conjunction with confocal microscopes. A simple UV torch or lamp is also useful both in the field and in the lab. Different ambers from both different locations and different species of tree exhibit different reactions to UV light. By observing the luminescence generated by this flourescence and its color shade one can know alot about the amber type and also know whether it has been heated or treated. Due to the unique reactions of UV it helps also examine various inclusions and some react better to UV than others. The first internal feature that can often be observed using UV are the amber flows that help us understand how a particular piece of amber actually formed and in which direction the amber flowed. In this example we are showing the use of more advanced flourescence sources which can be exceptionally valuable when examining vertebrates that have been trapped in amber; many hard to see features such as small scales and other soft tissues often become crystal clear when the correct light sources are used. Along with other techniques the use of flourescence also helped re-affirm that the head in this piece of amber comes from a rhamphorhynchus Advanced spectral examination is useful not only for examiining and diagnosing the amber but also very valuable for testing amber before and after CT or synchrotron scanning to help verify that the amber is truly unaffected by the beam, our favorite choices are FTIR and RAMAN and databases for Hukawng cannot be complete without testing samples of all types that are found in every mining location there.
Pterosaur has just been away, thought he was a raptor for the day