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Quick, high-quality data from Raman spectroscopy

3rd December 2013


Optimised designs are pushing Raman spectroscopy techniques to new levels in terms of speed, sensitivity and resolution. Sean Ottewell reports.

Rigaku Raman Technologies has added two compact and easy-to-use fibre optic probe accessories for its Xantus-2 785nm and 532nm portable Raman analysers.

Designed for pharmaceutical, research, analytical and industrial applications, the new Raman Probe II and Economy Probe will enable customers to significantly improve routine laboratory Raman spectroscopy and support true in situ analysis of an even broader range of materials.

"As our customers look to improve analysis capabilities and explore new applications with Raman spectroscopy, we will continue to enhance our products to provide valuable solutions to fit their needs," said Bree Allen, general manager at Rigaku Raman. "The addition of these two lightweight and easy-to-use probe accessories enables customers to broaden their use of lab-based Raman spectroscopy and truly improve workflow efficiency."

Using the new probes, Xantus-2 customers will be able to perform analysis on a variety of materials, including dark or turbid solutions, and fulfil applications such as immersion analysis that standard spectroscopic platforms cannot achieve. In addition, both probe options are lightweight and small enough to fit inside typical laboratory-scale vessels, enabling customers to transport them to any location and share among multiple departments.

Rigaku says Xantus-2 is the world's first dual wavelength Raman analyser designed to provide customers with application-specific solutions for quality data analysis. It is equipped with options of 785 and 1064nm or 532 and 1064nm lasers stabilised for Raman spectroscopy, providing a novel combination of high sensitivity and minimised fluorescence.

The analyser uses integrated software combining open architecture with customisable, user-defined settings for optimised sampling parameters that result in comprehensive and actionable data analysis. Equipped with sampling accessories for solids, liquids and powders, the Xantus-2 can perform analysis directly through sample containers without altering or destroying the sample. Users are able to perform rapid quantitative and qualitative analysis and monitor reactions such as oxidation and reduction directly through clear/amber-coloured glass vessels.

The company has also announced software enhancements to Xantus-2 that are designed to improve customer efficiency and ensure high levels of standards compliance. The new Xantus-2 version 3.0.0.0 software includes a redesigned account management user interface for stronger instrument security and data protection for enhanced compliance with 21 CFR Part 11 guidelines. Simplified data management and storage functions enable easier management of multiple libraries, while automatic naming convention and file saving features eliminate inconsistent storage locations and file names by multiple users.

New from Shimadzu is the IRTracer-100 Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrophotometer that combines high speed, sensitivity, and resolution with enhanced expandability and easy-to-use software. It obtains high-quality data for samples in fields such as pharmaceuticals, foods, chemicals and electronics.

Analysis of contaminants in or on products is very important for both safety and quality purposes. The size of the contaminants of interest has decreased significantly to 10µm or less.

Analysing such ultra-small samples requires high-sensitivity FTIR spectrophotometers. In addition to sensitivity, customers require easy-to-use software packages that provide rapid results. Lastly, FTIR systems need to offer rapid scan modes in order to monitor ultra-fast reactions.

The IRTracer-100 was developed with these requirements in mind. Featuring improvements in interferometer and detector design, it offers high sensitivity with a 60,000:1 SN ratio. Combined with the LabSolutions IR Contaminant Analysis Macro, this sensitivity enables easier, quicker and more accurate analysis of small samples.

High-speed reaction monitoring software allows a maximum of 20 spectra/second to be obtained. This makes the IRTracer-100 suitable for ultrafast reactions that occur within a few seconds, and for kinetics studies occurring in less than one second.

Optimised for network applications, LabSolutions IR CS enables connection to a laboratory's network of analytical instruments, including LC and GC. This unifies data management and provides for more secure, more efficient user administration.

In addition, LabSolutions IR features libraries containing nearly 12,000 spectra, allowing for easier identification of unknown samples.

Lastly, the novel 'Easy Macro' program allows users to create macros for routine work by simply selecting and aligning operations from a list. This improves productivity and allows even novice FTIR users to easily operate the IRTracer-100.

Ultra low noise and 2D scanning

New from BaySpec is the xSG SuperGamut line of extended near-infrared spectrometers with improved wavelength coverage and ultra-low noise operation.

According to the company, the new line features the highest throughput and fastest optics on the market for a roughly six-fold higher signal/noise improvement over traditional Czerny-Turner reflective grating based designs.

Standard detector ranges are available covering 900-1700nm, with extended cut-offs at 1950nm, 2050nm, 2250nm and 2550nm. As the VPG gratings are made in-house with total control over the design, the spectral range can be customised for optimal resolution in the range of interest all at no additional charge. Depending on the application need, detector arrays can be selected with single or two-stage TEC cooling, deep cooled to -55°C or water cooled down to -90°C for excellent low light sensitivity. The latest version of electronics lowers dark noise and improves stray light correction for wider dynamic range over the longer wavelength range.

BaySpec provides its Spec2020 software with any order at no additional charge. A full software development kit (SDK) with dll is available to support new applications development efforts. A variety of fibre optic accessories, from regular fibre bundles and probes to specialised high temperature probes, to broadband light sources can be selected for turn-key sampling. Applications include process control, food safety, pharmaceutical, astronomy, agriculture, remote monitoring, material science, biomedical, particle measurements, light source characterisation and other industrial uses.

In other news, Enhanced Spectrometry has announced that its RamMics M532 Raman microscopes now can be turned into highly efficient and cost-effective 2D scanning systems for Raman mapping. A motorised stage with a 0.36µm step allows resolution of 2-3µm particles, which allows multiple research opportunities within a single Raman system.

Also, in September the company launched its new handheld RaPort analyser, a novel device for chemical analysis in the fields of forensics, security and pharmaceuticals. RaPort is designed to bring a laboratory quality tool to a handheld class of analytical devices.

The company says its solutions make the analysis of low wavenumber Raman bands (in the region below 140 cm-1) easy and affordable. Meanwhile innovative Raman filters ensure spectral range from 7 up to 4000cm-1 with spectral resolution 3 cm-1 (Stokes component) simultaneously in one shot with spectral range from -1000 to -7 cm-1 (anti-Stokes component).

Finally, according to McPherson, enhanced ultraviolet response and good light throughput with a robust, open architecture set its Commander system apart.

This triple spectrometer for Raman works in the 185-2200nm region with a selection of diffraction gratings. Operating at f/5 it has impressive light gathering power. It delivers edge rejection within 5cm-1 in the visible spectral region. The instrument is free from chromatic aberrations as it uses mirrors throughout.

In addition the aspheric mirrors correct and improve imaging performance for excellent signal levels at the detector, even with weakly emitting samples. The entrance slit width and intermediate aperture in the filter stage allow users to set slope of the edge rejection as well as the wavelength range at the detector. The primary spectrograph is vacuum compatible. The double-monochromator filter stage and sample area may be nitrogen purged to eliminate water and oxygen absorption. Under ideal circumstances, this combination of environmental control allows work to wavelengths as short as 160 nm.

Bio Rad rleases latest spectroscopy software

Bio Rad Laboratories, a multinational manufacturer and distributor of life science research and clinical diagnostic products, has released KnowItAll Informatics System 2013 spectroscopy software.

The software offers comprehensive solutions for spectral analysis, identification, search, data management, and reporting. It supports multiple instrument vendor file formats and techniques including Raman, IR, NIR, NMR, MS and UV-Vis.

Combined with one of the world's largest spectral reference collections - which contains over 1.4 million spectra - the software helps chemists extract even greater knowledge from their spectral data.

According to the company, the key benefits of KnowItAll Informatics System 2013 include: additions to ATR-IR, IR, Raman, NMR, and MS reference spectral collections; enhanced Raman spectrum management; performance optimisations and workflow simplifications; advanced GC-MS database building and linking capabilities; and support for multiple spectra of the same technique within a single database record.

"We are pleased to introduce this latest edition of our KnowItAll Informatics System 2013 software and believe our infrared and Raman customers in particular will be thrilled with the enhancements featured in this new version," said Gregory M Banik, general manager, Bio Rad Informatics. "KnowItAll 2013, combined with Bio Rad's comprehensive collection of high-quality spectral reference data, provides our users with enhanced value when performing spectral analysis."

Founded in 1952, Bio Rad is based in Hercules, California, and serves more than 100,000 research and industry customers through its global network of operations.

The company employs approximately 7,300 people worldwide and had revenues exceeding US$2 billion (EUR1.5 billion) in 2012.





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