Raman Spectroscopy for Security

Apr 01, 2011
By Spectroscopy Editors

One of the fastest growing new areas of demand for Raman spectroscopy is in the security market. Technological improvements have helped to unlock the large potential of the technique for security applications. There has been a rash of acquisitions in the market that have completely reshaped the competitive landscape over the last few years, which is typical of such dynamic markets.

Raman spectroscopy for security applications: vendor share in 2010.
Raman spectroscopy is very well suited to the identification of explosives and other compounds for security applications. It provides a nondestructive analytical technique that provides highly specific data, which makes it an extremely good technique for identification of unknowns. Furthermore, it is more sensitive to nonpolar compounds than polar compounds, and therefore water and moisture do not interfere as they do with infrared and near-infrared techniques. However, such strengths of the technique were useless without many of the technological advancements made in lasers and optics over the past decade.

There has been quite a bit of merger and acquisition activity in the market space over the past three years. Thermo Scientific has become the strong leader in Raman spectroscopy for security applications thanks to its acquisition of fast growing Ahura Scientific. The Morpho division of the French-based SAFRAN Group, which was formerly a part of GE, has been in the market for a number of years. ICx Technologies, which was recently acquired by FLIR Systems, entered the handheld Raman market in 2009 and has quickly become a significant player. Intevac was slightly ahead of its larger competitors with its acquisition of DeltaNu in 2007. In 2010 the market for Raman in security applications grew to well over $60 million in 2010, and it is expected to see very strong double-digit annual growth for the foreseeable future.

The foregoing data were extracted from SDi's market analysis and perspectives report entitled The Global Assessment Report, 11th Edition: The Laboratory Life Science and Analytical Instrument Industry, October 2010. For more information, contact Stuart Press, Vice President, 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/.