Recent Trends in Raman Spectrophotometers

• Once massive benchtop instruments that required a Ph.D. to operate, portable Raman spectrophotometers are now a booming business, with the latest instruments being more approachable for non-experts, smaller, and lower in cost.

• Demand for portable Raman and other portable instruments continues to grow as applications expand beyond jewelry, pharmaceutical, military, and mining and exploration applications into industries such as food inspection, especially with more and more of our produce being imported to the U.S.

• Raman is effective for noncontact, nondestructive chemical analysis. Its attraction has been its applicability to many sample types with no preparation required. However, according to one expert, small-molecule drug development and manufacturers have been slow to adopt Raman, and biologicals have been even slower. This is likely due to a lack of trained spectroscopists in the biotech world and a lack of such training among process engineers and biologists.

Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Raman Spectrophotometer

  1. Can this system measure my sample of interest in my measurement environment? Depending on the sample you’re using (surface, bulk, process, etc.) and your environment (laboratory, field, loading dock, etc.) it will be important to know if you need a portable, benchtop, fiber optic based or micro-Raman system.
  2. How easy is it to switch from one type of sample to another when using your system? If you plan on measuring a diverse range of samples, fiber optic based systems afford you a high degree of sampling utility, whereas if you’re looking to measure one specific type of sample under a constant environment over and over again, you may want to choose a more dedicated setup.
  3. What level of expertise is needed to operate this system? A highly technical user will want a lot of software flexibility, whereas a novice will want something very easy and intuitive.
  4. What excitation wavelengths are available for your system? Depending on whether you are using organic vs. inorganic materials, you will want a specific wavelength to get the best results and you should research which wavelength will work best for your specific application.
  5. Does your system contain a back-thinned or front illuminated detector? Depending on the concentration and the degree to which the sample is Raman active, you will need to make sure to select the detector with the proper sensitivity.

Article courtesy of Lab Manager Magazine

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