Raman spectroscopy, like other molecular spectroscopy techniques, has the advantages of being nondestructive and providing instantaneous analysis. Its biggest advantages over other techniques include being able to analyze samples through glass and plastic. However, the optical technology to build even an effective and reliable laboratory-based Raman instrument largely did not exist until the mid-1980s, while modern holographic notch filters were not developed until around 1990. The combination of these improvements with the miniaturization and ruggedization of lasers and electronics has led to the proliferation of handheld and portable Raman instruments in the past several years.
The market for handheld and portable Raman instruments was less than $10 million in 2006. Fast-forward to the end of 2009, and the market has grown to more than $50 million, with no less than four new vendors entering the market space in the previous two years. While military, security, and first responders continue to be the largest markets for portable and handheld Raman, raw material inspection and final product QA/QC in the pharmaceuticals industry is a rapidly growing application, as is the technique's use in forensics and counterfeit analysis. The market should continue to see strong double-digit growth for the near future.The foregoing data were based upon SDi's market analysis and perspectives report entitled Global Assessment Report, 10.5th Edition: The Laboratory Life Science and Analytical Instrument Industry, August 2009. For more information, contact Stuart Press, Vice President – Strategic Analysis, Strategic Directions International, Inc., 6242 Westchester Parkway, Suite 100, Los Angeles, CA 90045, (310) 641-4982, fax: (310) 641-8851, http://www.strategic-directions.com/.