Planar Array Infrared (PAIR) Spectroscopy
Spectroscopy is a technique for measuring the concentration or amount of a given material by measuring how well that material absorbs or transmits light.
While it would take the current technology, which was designed more than 30 years ago -- a Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectrograph -- tens of minutes to chemically identify the petroleum in a major oil spill, for example, PAIR Technologies' new instrument could provide the molecular fingerprint in one second or less, hastening cleanup efforts, Rabolt says.
When a sample is placed into the current FT-IR spectrograph for analysis, the instrument divides the infrared light source into two beams that reflect off both a fixed and a moving mirror. Two separate experiments must be run for every analysis -- one with the sample, and one without. The latter accounts for any "background interference" from the environment, which must be mathematically reconciled. Additionally, the sample chamber must be purged with nitrogen gas to displace any water vapor.
The PAIR Technologies instrument has no moving parts. It relies on a focal plane array, commonly used in medical imaging, which consists of a cluster of light-sensing pixels at the focal plane of a lens to receive the optically dispersed infrared light. As a result, the PAIR Technologies instrument provides a direct reading in under a second.
"This is a rugged replacement for the existing technology, taking it out of the lab and into the field," Chase says. "Our instrument has no moving parts. It's durable, compact, and portable -- you can carry it out to your local stream or use it in a doctor's or dentist's office."
Recognized internationally as leaders in the field of spectroscopy, Rabolt and Chase are award-winning scientists who were good-na
|Contact: Tracey Bryant|
University of Delaware