Spectroscopy brought down to size
New developments are mobilizing Raman, mid-infrared and near-infrared spectroscopy for a whole host of innovative handheld applications.
Heinz Siesler |
Since the early 1970s, I have been active in vibrational spectroscopy. And, for the last decade, I have made a point of following the continual development of miniaturized spectrometers for Raman, mid-infrared (mid-IR) and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR). Forty years ago, Raman and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrometers were huge, room-filling machines, and NIR spectrometers were just about to evolve from add-ons to ultraviolet-visible (UV-VIS) or IR spectrometers and appear as standalone instruments. Things began to change over the next four decades, with many exciting hardware and software developments for vibrational spectroscopy appearing. Nevertheless, apart from the introduction of light-fiber optics, special probes and chemometric evaluation routines enabling the technology to move out of the lab to the process, the techniques were still strictly for scientists. In contrast, the development of miniaturized, handheld instruments would not only lead to a further extension of the range of applications but also suggested that these instruments would eventually appear in non-traditional user environments.
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