Spectral data advances rely on speed and sensitivity

Mass spectrometer manufacturers are focusing on improving software and sensitivity, together with boosting CCD. Sean Ottewell reports.

Horiba Scientific, the Raman and fluorescence spectroscopy systems specialist, has just debuted its new Syncerity 1024 x 256 CCD Detector for UV-VIS-NIR. This new, open-electrode -60°C TE-cooled CCD detector offers the lowest noise and highest dynamic range in its class.

The company addressed the need for improved performance from CCDs available for OEM. The Syncerity is a research grade spectroscopy camera that combines affordability, performance and versatility for OEM, as well as research applications. Its flexible design and software allows Horiba's OEM dedicated team to easily customise this camera platform for industrial requirements, ranging from alternate CCD chips to electronics customisations. Ruggedised connectors ensure overall system integrity in industrial environments, and it's all metal sealed technology provides a permanent vacuum which comes with a lifetime maintenance free warranty."[Page Break]

OEM integration

The Syncerity's ultra compact size is designed for compatibility with microscopes and OEM integration. According to Horiba, at its slow scan speed of 45kHz, this detector offers unmatched dynamic range (92.5dB in image mode) and has the lowest readout noise and non-linearity (< 0.4 per cent) in its cooling class. In addition, its open electrode CCD technology offers broad spectral coverage with QE of 33 per cent at 250nm and 50 per cent at 800nm, and provides a lower-cost alternative to eliminating the ill effects of etaloning in the near IR region, which traditionally required the use of expensive deep depletion CCD sensors.

"The Syncerity CCD Detector is the perfect choice for low light level detection in a variety of spectroscopic applications where ultimate deep cooling is unnecessary," said Michael Narozniak, director of multi-channel detectors for Horiba Scientific. "This new detector complements our other lines of deep cooled, high performing spectroscopic CCD cameras, which include the LN2 cooled Symphony and TE cooled Synapse (-80 to -100°C) solutions. Now price and performance don't have to be exclusive from one another, especially in applications and markets that are price sensitive."[Page Break]

Rapid data collection

In another innovation, Horiba has launched the Dual-FL which combines a spectrofluorometer and spectrophotometer for the simultaneous rapid collection of fluorescence and absorbance data.

The company addressed the need for speed when collecting spectral data and complete excitation-emission matrices (EEMs). Dual-FL features spectral rates as fast as 80,000nm/s, and acquires EEMs up to a 100 times faster than any other instrument.

With its sensitive cooled, back-illuminated CCD detector for rapid collection of emission spectra, and an excitation double monochromator for superior stray light rejection, the Dual-FL has signal-to-noise greater than 20,000:1 RMS.

The simultaneous absorbance data can be used to correct inner-filter effects in measurement of high concentration samples, eliminating the need for time consuming, laborious dilutions.

The Dual-FL can also be used as a stand-alone UV-VIS, meeting spectrophotometer test specs such as the USP."[Page Break]

Raman spectrometers

Meanwhile the company's new LabRAM HR Evolution is the latest spectrometer to join the LabRAM series of research Raman spectrometers.

The new spectrometer is highly versatile, offering a fully automated, extended wavelength range capability. It also has an unsurpassed achromatic optical design with a high focal length. According to the company, it provides high spectroscopic resolution and a unique wavelength range capability from 200nm to 2000nm with an access to frequencies as low as 10cm-1 thanks to the Ultra Low Frequency module, providing high content spectroscopic information for chemical and structural identification as well as an accurate spatial resolution at sub-micron scale.

LabRAM HR Evolution is ideally suited to both micro and macro measurements, and offers advanced confocal imaging capabilities in 2D and 3D.

The true confocal microscope enables the most detailed images and analysis to be obtained with speed and confidence. Dual Path Optics offers fast, simple switching between UV and VIS/NIR regions. No adjustment or alignment is required.[Page Break]

"Our customers should have flexibility from their instruments to make them more widely applicable to their needs," said Loic Camenen, sales director of the research instruments division of Horiba Scientific. "Its flexible base can be expanded with a range of options, upgrades and accessories to suit all budgets and applications including Biosciences, new generation materials, and energy applied research, to name few. It can also easily be adapted to all major SPM/AFM suppliers."

The LabRAM Evolution utilises Horiba Scientific's new LabSpec6 Spectroscopy Suite.

LabSpec6 provides complete instrument control and data processing, assuring fast and reliable results. It combines simplicity with powerful analytical functionality, and opens up a full range of experiment protocols, from basic spectrum acquisition to hyperspectral confocal imaging.[Page Break]

Solving everyday problems

Following the successful recent launch of Bruker Chemical & Applied Markets (CAM) division's EVOQ LC-triple quadrupole (LC-TQ) mass spectrometers in Tokyo, the company is continuing with its global introduction.

The Bruker EVOQ is a purpose-built innovation for the applied markets. The EVOQ TQ-MS with the Advance LC is designed with what the company describes as game-changing innovations, such as the vacuum-insulated probe, heated electrospray, active exhaust, and IQ dual ion funnel.

Coupled with the high-performance EVOQ hardware is the equally high-performance software featuring Bruker's novel compound-based screening (CBS) software for upfront method development on the triple quadrupole with a drag-and-drop, easy method setup (Fig.1). This is in conjunction with the all new PACER software, which flags up chromatogram runs that fail to fall within preset customer parameters.

Rohan Thakur, vice president of the Bruker CAM division commented on the hardware and software components of EVOQ: "CBS helps you to develop the method upstream that has already been proven to be successful in laboratories using the SCION GC-MS system.[Page Break]

"This, coupled with the PACER software, helps you flag problem chromatograms of the LOQ, solving an everyday problem in these laboratories.

"This provides you with a powerful software package that will help you speed up sample-to-report time for your instrument.

"So with the EVOQ hardware, which is only 50 per cent of the solution - you now also have software that helps you complete the picture. We believe we have a very robust solution for an industry that requires rigorous quantitation needs."[Page Break]

Spectral databases

Bio-Rad Laboratories, a multinational manufacturer and distributor of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, has released several new databases and version 9.5 of its award-winning KnowItAll software.

"The significant amount of spectral data that have been added highlights Bio-Rad's continued commitment to creating new and valuable spectral databases," said Gregory M Banik, general manager, Bio-Rad Informatics.

"Coupled with the significant enhancements that we have made to KnowItAll, we believe our users will be delighted with this release," he continued."[Page Break]

Reference collections

Bio-Rad offers researchers access to one of the world's largest spectral reference collections containing over 1.4 million spectra of pure organic and commercial compounds. Researchers rely on these collections to determine chemical composition of samples by comparing them to the reference spectra.

In this new release, Bio-Rad offers several new spectral databases and has enhanced several others in the following technique areas: ATR-IR, IR, Raman, and NMR.

New ATR-IR databases released include: ATR-IR - Controlled & Prescription Drugs 2 - Bio-Rad Sadtler (1,082 spectra), and ATR-IR - Nutraceuticals - Bio-Rad Sadtler (671 spectra).

New databases added to HaveItAll IR, bringing this comprehensive collection to over 225,000 spectra, include: ATR-IR - Controlled & Prescription Drugs 2 - Bio-Rad Sadtler (1,082 spectra); ATR-IR - Nutraceuticals - Bio-Rad Sadtler (671 spectra); ATR-IR - Inorganics 2 - Bio-Rad Sadtler (135 spectra); and ATR-IR - Organometallics 2 - Bio-Rad Sadtler (127 spectra).

Version 9.5 of its KnowItAll Informatics spectroscopy software also includes a range of enhancements, including: spectral Search, which now offers enhanced ability to visualise results from simultaneous searches from multiple analytical techniques and the option to view even more detailed search parameters and include in reports; mixture analysis, which now offers a choice of algorithm and the ability to include/exclude known components to improve results; and spectral viewing - now including different spectral x-axis zoom zones, spectrum overview pane, the ability to calculate the 'average' spectrum and derivative spectra, and improved reflectance spectrum handling.[Page Break]

Extended deep-depletion CCD sensitivity

Andor Technology has launched its Extended Range, Dual-AR technology for the Newton and iDus spectroscopy CCD platforms. This new coating extends the near-infrared quantum efficiency (QE) performance of back-illuminated, deep-depletion sensors into the visible and ultraviolet range.

Available on the flagship Newton 920 platform and the laboratory-workhorse iDus 420 platform, the Extended Range, Dual-AR technology facilitates broadening of the QE range of back-illuminated, deep-depletion sensors through implementation of a new dual anti-reflection coating process.

Antoine Varagnat, spectroscopy product specialist at Andor Technology, commented: "The outstanding broadband QE performance of the Dual-AR technology, combined with the superb low-etalonning performance and natural NIR sensitivity of back-illuminated deep-depletion sensors, constitute a very attractive solution for broadband luminescence/photoluminescence and absorption spectroscopy, as well as multi-laser Raman setups."

Andor has also announced the launch of its multi-wavelength imaging portfolio. The portfolio comprises of the TuCam, a state-of-the-art two camera adapter for simultaneous imaging with maximised field of view, as well as the Optosplit II, a cost-effective dual emission splitter that divides an image into two separate spatially equivalent components that can be displayed side by side on a single camera sensor.

Suited to fast, concurrent detection of two different fluorophores in experiments such as co-localisation FRET or ratiometric ion signalling, TuCam and Optosplit II are compatible with Andor's complete range of market leading low light imaging cameras, including iXon and Luca EMCCDs, Clara interline CCD and the Neo and Zyla sCMOS. A range of simultaneous multi-channel acquisition and complementary analysis software options are also available.

Further flexibility can be accessed by converted TuCam into a high performance camera switching device, facilitating fast switching between two different acquisition technologies, for example.

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