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Proceedings Paper

Handheld spectrometers in 2018 and beyond: MOEMS, photonics, and smartphones
Author(s): Richard A. Crocombe
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Paper Abstract

Until very recently, handheld spectrometers were the domain of major analytical and security instrument companies, like Thermo Fisher Scientific and Smiths Detection, with turnkey analyzers using spectroscopic techniques from x-ray fluorescence (XRF) for metals to Raman, mid-infrared and near-infrared for organics. However, the past few years have seen rapid changes in this landscape with the introduction of handheld laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), ‘smartphone spectroscopy’ focusing on medical diagnostics for low resource areas, a commercial MEMS FTnear-infrared engine, implementation of Texas Instruments’ DLP chip for the near infrared using a Hadamard scheme, ‘hyphenated’ or dual technology instruments, and some low cost visible/near-infrared instruments selling directly to the public.

Successful handheld instruments are designed to give answers to non-scientist operators, and therefore their developers have put extensive resources into reliable identification algorithms, and qualitative and quantitative calibrations. LIBS builds on more than 60 years of experience in optical emission (arc-spark and inductively-coupled plasma) spectroscopy, while smartphone spectroscopy leverages existing colorimetric assays and their ‘chemistries’. Handheld near-infrared analyzers have similarly built on the decades of calibrations on laboratory instruments in food, feed and agriculture. The low-cost consumer instruments use a different model: crowd-sourcing for the company, and also crowd-sourcing for the data, with analysis in the cloud, not on the instrument itself.

This paper outlines the portable spectrometer field, and discusses databases, calibrations and algorithms, and also caveats on crowd-sourced data, especially for heterogeneous samples.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 February 2018
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 10545, MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XVII, 105450C (22 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2286492
Show Author Affiliations
Richard A. Crocombe, Crocombe Spectroscopic Consulting (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10545:
MOEMS and Miniaturized Systems XVII
Wibool Piyawattanametha; Yong-Hwa Park; Hans Zappe, Editor(s)

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