Spectroscopy technology developments

24th June 2016

Posted By Paul Boughton

Scientists have commented on the user-friendly design of the DS-11 FX
The HPR-40 DSA bench-top MIMS from Hiden
The ILT5000 can be operated wirelessly
The ZSX Primus IV boasts a 30 micron tube
The Apyron Raman imaging system from WITec

Jaine Weddell reports on the latest product and application developments in the spectroscopy sector

The trend towards portability and flexibility continues in the field of spectroscopy, along with a drive towards combined functionality. Spectrometers are also becoming both smaller and smarter, with many new products requiring little or no calibration or maintenance.

DeNovix's DS-11 FX spectrophotometer/fluorometer series typifies these trends, being a compact device that combines UV-Vis absorbance and fluorescence and which is, DeNovix says, maintenance free. The custom android interface and clear layout are particularly popular with the scientists and technicians who have reviewed DS-11 FX devices.

The most recent enhancement to the DS-11 range is a range of fluorescence assays kits for dsDNA quantification. The three assay kits differ according to the range of concentrations they can measure (broad range, high sensitivity and ultra high sensitivity). When combined with the DS-11 FX, the Ultra High Sensitivity kit allows quantification down to 0.5 pg/µL dsDNA. The combination of absorbance and fluorescence measurements gives the instrument an overall dynamic range from 0.5 pg/µL to 37,500 ng/µL. 

One recent application involved extracting DNA from blood in the stomach of mites. The customer had developed methods for amplifying the DNA but contamination of the samples with other nucleic acids and the very low concentrations meant that absorbance alone was not enough to get reliable quantification. By using a combination of the fluorescence Ultra High Sensitivity kit and taking absorbance measurements the customer was able to get a specific quantification while  also gaining a good picture of the contaminants present in their samples.

Real-time analysis 

Hiden's new HPR-40 DSA membrane inlet mass spectrometer (MIMS) is a bench-top gas analysis system for real-time quantitative analysis and monitoring of dissolved/evolved gases. The system offers the facility for analysis to sub-ppb (parts per billion) levels and is suited to gas analysis applications where sample volume is small and for environmental applications where detection of a low concentration level is required, providing analysis of dissolved species with a mass range of 200 amu, with an 300 amu option.

To support a wide range of applications, both dissolved species probe inlets and circular membrane carrier inlets are available. The inlet probe uses a special membrane that allows small levels of the dissolved species to pass through it and into the ion source of a high precision quadrupole mass spectrometer. A manual isolation valve allows for control of the sampling and a solenoid safety valve provides protection for the mass spectrometer and vacuum system in case of membrane failure.

Hiden predicts the HPR-40 will be a measurement asset in areas such as fermentation processing, photosynthesis, electrochemical reaction studies, water quality and soil condition assessment, plant root performance and analysis of enzyme kinetics. 

Industry standard

US company International Light Technologies describes its newest generation of product as “the ILT1700 for the 21st century”, with improvements on the original device including rapid optical measurements (1-100Hz), a broader dynamic range (100fA to 1mA), extensive software apps, data storage and rechargeable batteries.

The ILT5000 can be operated wirelessly and comes with a basic Labview DLL and ILT's DataLight II light measurement and data collection software apps including dedicated software for displaying live trends and a flash app that will take measurements at over 8KHz. Full API and Labview start up code are available for customers who want to write their own control software.

Aware that some users will still be using ILT1700 detectors, the ILT5000 is backwards compatible with the ILT1700 “D” type sensors, and with all of ILT's supporting filters, optics, integrating spheres and ISO 17025/NIST traceable calibrations. For ease of use the ILT5000 also includes an app that mimics the display of the ILT1700. Optical measurement applications supported by the device include radiometry, photometry, light intensity, radiance/luminance, brightness, UVGI sterilisation, solar, photoresist, curing, 3D printer, optical radiation hazard, phototherapy, photo-degradation and plant growth.

The broad linear dynamic range of the ILT5000 and the SMA connector also allow the meter to serve as a highly sensitive and accurate picoammeter. 

Improved throughput

The ZSX Primus IV sequential WDXRF spectrometer is the latest instrument in Rigaku's ZSX series, and delivers the same elemental range coverage as the ZSX Primus (beryllium through uranium) but with tube-above (inverted) optics. 

Throughput has been improved by high-speed sample transportation, high-speed goniometer drive, high speed data processing and effective driving control. Measurement time has been reduced by 40 % for qualitative analysis and 20 % for quantitative analysis (in-house comparison) resulting in the highest possible throughput.

Curved PET and Ge crystals are incorporated in the standard configurations for the ZSX Primus IV. The intensity for P and S by curved Ge increases by 30 % compared with flat Ge. The intensity for Al and Si by curved PET increases by 30 % compared with flat PET.

The ZSX Primus features a 30 micron tube, the thinnest end-window tube available in the industry according to Rigaku, which is ideal for light element (low-Z) detection limits, while multi-spot analysis helps to eliminate sampling errors in inhomogeneous materials.

The time-saving EZ-scan feature allows users to analyse unknown samples without prior setup. Combined with SQX fundamental parameters software, it gives accurate and rapid XRF (X-ray diffraction) results. SQX is capable of automatically correcting for all matrix effects, including line overlaps. SQX can also correct for secondary excitation effect by photoelectrons (light and ultra-light elements), varying atmospheres, impurities and different sample sizes. 

Raman specialist

With the Apyron imaging system, Raman specialist WITec aims to combine ease-of-use and ultimate capability in Raman imaging.

The absolute laser power is measured in the optical fibre and can be adjusted with accuracy of <0.1 mW. A laser shutter shields the sample from the laser light and opens only during Raman analysis with optimised laser power to avoid sample degradation. Wavelength selection, once initiated by a single click of the mouse, is fully automated.

The lens-based imaging spectrometer was designed for Raman microscopy and applications at ultra-low light intensities. Versions are available for a wide variety of excitation wavelengths and focal lengths, optimised for their specific laser wavelength. WITec claims that more than 16 million Raman spectra can be acquired in a single dataset with spectral resolution down to 0.1 rel. 1/cm per pixel (at 633 nm excitation).

Additional features of the Apyron include automated sample positioning and motorised scan tables, software controlled measurement settings, system controlled adjustment of the optical fibre position and pre-defined calibration routines for the optical and mechanical microscope components.

The Apyron won first prize at the Achema 2015 Innovation Awards in the category of Laboratory and Analytical Technologies, and has only recently become available in the UK, through LOT-QuantumDesign. 





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