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Spectroscopy technology developments

4th January 2016

Posted By Paul Boughton


Hamamatsu new fingertip-sized spectrometer head
Waters has recently added to its solid phase extraction range of products
The new Ultima fluorometer combines the latest in high temporal resolution TCSPC electronics
Shimadzu’s new RF-6000 spectrofluorophotometer
The new portable Spectroscout X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
Renishaw’s inVia confocal Raman microscope

Louise Smyth reports on the latest products from the spectroscopy sector

Throughout 2015 there has been a flurry of activity in spectroscopy equipment. Many vendors have launched new solutions; here we present some highlights.

Hamamatsu Photonics recently introduced the latest development within its MEMS spectrometer range: the C12880MA. This is an ultra-compact, fingertip size spectrometer head that offer wider spectral response and high sensitivity over the UV to visible range.

The new C12880MA offers a spectral range of 340 – 850nm and a sensitivity two orders or magnitude higher than the original C12666MA Micro-Spectrometer. It also offers 12nm resolution, a high speed video rate of 5MHz and incorporates a trigger function and a CMOS sensor with 288 pixels.

Realised by utilising Hamamatsu MEMS and image sensor technologies, the spectrometer measures only 20.1 × 12.5 × 10.1mm in size, making it ideal for portable measurement devices (including compatibility with smartphones and tablets) in applications such as colour monitoring, LED testing, water quality monitoring and other environmental measurement instruments.

Novel separations technology

The key news from Waters in 2015 was the introduction of new technologies and innovations for mass spectrometry, intended to give laboratories greater levels of detail for every analysis. The introductions include the new Vion IMS QTof mass spectrometer, a new bench-top tandem mass spectrometer featuring ion mobility and REIMS research system with iKnife sampling, combining direct-from-sample ionisation with high-performance time-of-flight (ToF) mass spectrometry.

Waters says that the Vion IMS QTof mass spectrometer brings clarity and confidence to routine analyses. Ion mobility removes spectral interferences and generates collision cross-section (CCS) values for every ion, giving scientists more information than they can get from traditional LC-MS experiments.

“More than a decade of experience in ion mobility has gone into the design of our Vion IMS QTof instrument. For scientists involved in sample screening, metabolite identification or classical ‘omics experiments, their ability to detect and identify all sample analytes in single analysis at the bench has reached a new level,” says Gary Harland, director, mass spectrometry product management, Waters Division. “Regardless of how many analytes there are in a sample, and regardless of the concentrations which they are present in, Vion IMS QTof empowers laboratories to respond better to analytical challenges and succeed in meeting their scientific and business objectives.”

Waters also expanded its family of solid phase extraction products with the Oasis PRiME HLB and added to its portfolio of protein separation columns with the Acquity UPLC Glycoprotein BEH Amide Column for glycan analysis.

New fluorescence system

Horiba Scientific is another player that has launched new solutions in the past few months. The company recently launched the new Ultima TCSPC Fluorescence Lifetime system, which is optimised for short lifetime measurements.

The new Ultima fluorometer combines the latest in high temporal resolution TCSPC electronics, interchangeable high speed light sources and detector technologies, and Horiba’s FluoroCube, a dedicated lifetime optical platform.

The Ultima’s 400 fs/point time resolution enables it to measure extremely short lifetimes. Its measurement range of 100ns to seconds, flexibility of 16k time channels, and simplicity of a USB PC connection also make it easy to use. The Ultima can also be configured for use with MCPs, fs lasers, NIR detectors and excitation and emission monochromators to support virtually any experimental configuration.

“For customers who routinely measure lifetimes below 100ps, our new Ultima TCSPC offers unprecedented short lifetime performance with exceptional flexibility and ease-of use,” comments Ishai Nir, director of the Fluorescence division at Horiba Scientific.

Latest spectrofluorophotometer launched

Meanwhile, 2015 also saw the launch of Shimadzu’s new RF-6000 spectrofluorophotometer, which the company designed to provide stable analyses at a level of sensitivity that is unrivalled by some other instruments in its class.

The adoption of a much brighter light source allows the RF-6000 to achieve an S/N ratio of 350:1. Furthermore, the lifespan of the xenon arc lamp has been greatly extended, to approximately 2,000 hours. This, in combination with the range of the detector's measurable wavelengths being widened, assures stable analyses with high precision. Additionally, a larger sample compartment, the adoption of the new LabSolutions RF control software, and a variety of options mean that an even broader range of customer needs can be accommodated.

It is possible to obtain fluorescence spectra up to 900 nm with a standard configuration. In addition, the RF-6000 can be applied to new applications, for example, the measurement of quantum yield and quantum efficiency in order to evaluate the efficiency of a luminescent material; low-temperature measurement to enable recovery of a sample in order to elucidate artificial photosynthesis; or a search for methods to determine the place of origin for foodstuffs.

MS platform

In other news from the industry, Sciex has announced the launch of the new X-Series mass spectrometry (MS) platform. The platform introduces a new industrial design and is comprised of customised models, each with improved, easy-to-use software, methods and libraries custom-designed for targeted customer applications. The first model, the X500R, was designed exclusively for routine food, environmental and forensic testing labs, based on extensive customer input.

High-resolution MS (HRMS) technology is still not widely adopted by routine testing labs due to a lack of both robustness and software adapted to their needs, making operation challenging and delivering complex and often unreliable results. The X500R overcomes these inadequacies with workflows that are easy to deploy for routine labs in a system balanced for high performance, ease of use and reliability, so labs can adopt high resolution MS to collect clear, confident results without making performance trade-offs.

The X-Series family delivers intelligent, comprehensive models. Each system is designed to meet the specific needs of targeted end users. The X-Series is driven by Sciex OS software, a redesigned operating software boasting a single, simple user interface to acquire data, process and review results, and produce easy-to-understand reports.

The breadth of data acquisition capabilities has been extended to include SWATH Acquisition, MRM acquisition, information dependent high-resolution MS acquisition (IDA), and high-speed MS/MS scanning. The ease of serviceability will ensure uninterrupted operation of the instrument and maximise uptime for the lab. The system is designed to keep pace with a lab’s growth and will evolve as the lab’s needs evolve.

A hot topic

Recent news from Ocean Optics was the launch of its Flame spectrometer line, which delivers high thermal stability and low unit-to-unit variation without compromising the flexibility and configurability that are the hallmark of modular, miniature spectrometers. Features such as interchangeable slits, indicator LEDs and simpler device connectors provide great flexibility for a wide range of UV-Vis applications including OEM integration and lab, industrial and field use.

The Flame is fully configurable across the 190-1100 nm wavelength range for use in absorbance, transmission, reflectance, irradiance and colour applications. Spectrometers come preconfigured or custom configured, with interchangeable slits that enable users to adjust resolution and throughput on demand. For example, the user can reconfigure the same spectrometer from high resolution for absorbance to high throughput for fluorescence in seconds. To further increase measurement power, the Flame works seamlessly with the Ocean Optics range of light sources, optical fibres, sampling accessories and software.

Optical bench improvements and high precision alignment methods elevate Flame performance for demanding applications in industrial and field environments. The Flame has thermal stability of 0.05 nm/°C from 200-850 nm and highly consistent unit-to-unit performance that meets the needs of OEMs and other high-volume customers. Its small footprint (89 x 63 x 34mm) and low weight (265g) make the product ideal for OEM integration.

Portable spectrometer hits the market

The new portable Spectroscout X-ray fluorescence spectrometer is designed to bring laboratory-quality elemental composition monitoring and quality control testing to at-line analysis. Its maker, Spectro Analytical Instruments, says that the durable and compact analyser delivers reliable and highly precise results with the power of a top-grade laboratory benchtop instrument in an easily transportable design. The Spectroscout is ideal for manufacturers and processors of such products as chemicals, cosmetics, feedstocks, foods, metal coatings, and pharmaceuticals among others.

Employing the solution for at-line analysis enhances QC productivity by eliminating time spent transporting samples from the plant floor to the laboratory to wait in queue for testing. In contrast, the Spectroscoutcan deliver audit-traceable results directly from the manufacturing floor.

Moreover, the product is a much more affordable alternative as an at-line installation than larger and more costly laboratory instruments, and it can be operated with minimal introductory training.

New Raman microscope

2015 saw the launch of Renishaw’s latest addition to its range, the inVia confocal Raman microscope. The new solution made its debut at Pittcon. The inVia system enables users to study a wide range of samples with a broad range of Raman imaging techniques. Renishaw’s suite of complementary imaging options makes it easy for users to get the chemical and structural information they need. There are various benefits associated with each technique and the addition of transmission Raman provides maximum flexibility. Raman is a particularly attractive method for the fast, quantitative analysis of bulk material homogeneity. Raman offers benefits for applications such as tablet dose and blend uniformity.





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