2024 Review of Spectroscopic Instrumentation

SpectroscopyApril/May 2024
Volume 39
Issue 04
Pages: 32–34

Pittcon, the traditional venue for the introduction of new analytical instrumentation, was held in San Diego, California in February, the first time the conference was on the West Coast. When Pittcon began, analytical chemistry was important to the chemicals and polymers industries; the Midwest and Northeast were major locations for those industries. Now, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals are the important industries in the analytical sciences and San Diego is a major hub as is Philadelphia, where Pittcon 2023 was held, and Boston, the venue for Pittcon 2025.

This changing dynamic also means product introductions may not always be tied to conferences and if they are, the conferences may be more targeted to the product being introduced. For example, last fall at SciX 2023, we saw a few new products by small companies focused on spectroscopy.

This review covers products introduced in the spectroscopy space between May 2023 and April 2024, to give complete coverage, and it will be broken into four sections: instrumentation, accessories, software, and components. The difference between an accessory and a component is that an accessory is designed to be used with a complete instrument, while a component can be used to construct the instrument.

Table I lists companies that submitted new products, the product categories, and links to company home pages. As in 2023, we also have tables with information on the products, and in these tables, we have provided links to the pages associated with each product. We will not describe every entry in detail, but refer the reader to further information.


The first category is major instrumentation. Design of a new analytical system, regardless of the technology used, requires inputs from a number of technical areas, so most projects are multi-year ventures for the instrument company. As I mentioned in last year’s review, it appeared that there may have been many projects held up by the pandemic that were then introduced in 2023, so that may have reduced the number of full instruments this year. Considering this, it should be no surprise there are fewer full instrument systems introduced this year compared to last year.


Both Shimadzu and PerkinElmer introduced inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) systems this year, as shown in Table II. According to product descriptions supplied to the author, both instruments use modern designs to minimize the environmental footprint, improve efficiency, and simplify operations. These are features that many instrument designers aim to achieve in a modern instrument.

Analytik Jena introduced a total organic carbon/total nitrogen (TOC/TN) analyzer to simplify this critical analysis. Though it might seem simple in the modern instrument era, TOC and TN analyses are critical for environmental monitoring and quality control in the pharmaceutical industry.


Unlike 2023, when there were instruments in both ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) and fluorescence categories as well as infrared (IR) and Raman, this year for the molecular spectroscopy category, all entries were vibrational spectroscopy instruments, both IR and Raman.


Table III illustrates entries in the mid-infrared (mid-IR) category. Anton Paar has entered the Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) market with a benchtop instrument designed for routine analysis. Technical specifications, listed on the Anton Paar website, show an instrument with components and specifications on the level with traditionally recognized FT-IR vendors.

Thermo Fisher Scientific has added another FT-IR instrument, the Nicolet Apex FT-IR, described as for both research and quality control applications. It can be equipped to cover the near- and mid-IR as well as to use a thermoelectrically (TE) cooled mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) detector.

Shimadzu has introduced the IRSpirit-X FT-IR, described on its website as small and light. The author will admit that the image on the website does not do it justice. It wasn’t until I scrolled further that I realized exactly how small and light the instrument is.

Last in the mid-IR category, Molecular Vista has introduced the Vista 200, a photoinduced force microscope, another entry in the field of combined chemical imaging with atomic force microscopy (AFM) topography measurements. This instrument seems to be aimed directly at the semiconductor market.


Raman applications and instruments have been growing rapidly, with devices for the laboratory, field, and process. Table IV has entries in all categories. Horiba Instrument has introduced a version of the LabRaman confocal Raman microscope specifically for the semiconductor market. It is optimized for photoluminescence and Raman mapping, and it works from deep UV to near-IR.

Oxford Instruments WITec has also introduced a Raman microscope system aimed at the semiconductor market. The alpha300 is designed for 300 mm (12-inch wafers) and can be used on conventional semiconductor materials as well as novel two-dimensional (2D) materials such as graphene.

At the other end of the size spectrum, Rigaku Analytical Devices has introduced a 1064-nm handheld called the Narc-ID for presumptive identification of narcotics and precursors.

The team at 908 Devices appears to have gone back to the roots of their founders, all from Ahura Instruments, by introducing the Maverick, a purpose-built Raman process analytical technology (PAT) instrument that can simplify conventional model building inherent in other process instruments.

Wasatch Photonics has added another spectrometer to the family of compact devices for which it is known. The X series Raman has an integrated single wavelength laser module with an excitation wavelength from 532 nm to 1064 nm. This allows users to do proof of concepts and migrate to large volume original equipment manufacturer (OEM) applications.

Finally in the Raman category, we would like to note that DialAct Corporation has entered into a partnership with Elodiz, from the UK, to distribute Elodiz Raman spectrometers.

Imaging Instruments

Imaging instruments can cover a variety of technologies and applications from laboratory-based to remote imaging. The two products discussed in Table V, though from the same company, illustrate the breadth of applications. The first, Mjolnir, is an imager from HySpex designed for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications. This small form factor imager, when used in a UAV, is appropriate for agriculture, geology, mining, and other applications.

The Core Scanner, also from HySpex, is at the other end of the application spectrum. It is designed to profile minerals from drilling cores, and to scan and classify the composition of the cores.


An instrument is designed to do a particular analysis, but accessories are designed to make that instrument more flexible and efficient. Considering that when looking at Table VI, which covers accessories, we see applications are as broad as instruments discussed elsewhere.

The first accessory, clinPAL from Analytik Jena, is designed to automate sample handling for ICP-MS analysis of clinical samples. It is equipped with a vortex mixer to ensure sample homogeneity and integrated bar coding for sample recognition.

Agilent has introduced an auto-dilution system to be used with their ICP-OES and ICP-MS instruments. This accessory automates the tedious tasks such as preparing standards and accurately diluting over-range sample.

A series of fiber optic probes useful for remote spectroscopy are available from art photonics. The FlexiSpec Multispectral Combi Probe is designed to integrate into a number of optical spectroscopy applications including UV-vis, near-IR, or fluorescence. A second fiber optic accessory from art photonics is the FlexiSpec Raman probe. This has two variations, one for excitation in the 630 to 785 nm region or one for single wavelength excitation. The third accessory probe is the FlexiSpec Transmission Fiber optic probe, for use with spectrometers from UV to near-IR.

Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) substrates are becoming more and more important, and Nikalyte has introduced a silver nanoparticle SERS substrate to complement existing gold SERS substrates.

Finally, PhaseTech Spectroscopy has introduced a transmission electrochemical sample cell called the VOLT IR. This is a transmission design and the electrode surfaces are transparent in the infrared, enabling a transmission experiment in situations in which other sampling geometries would not work.


In all analytical instruments, software is a major part of the overall package, and in many cases the only component that the customer actually interfaces with. Some software packages are part of the instrument while others are add-on components, and then there are third-party packages designed to make using the instrument and interpreting the data easier. The software that is part of the instrument is not covered here but the other two categories, efficiency packages and data interpretation software, are included in Table VII.

Horiba has introduced a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliance package for the Aqualog A-TEEM Industrial QC–QA (quality control and quality assurance) Analyzer, providing tools to enable the A-TEEM to implement methods for a GMP environment.

Spectral libraries are an important software component for data interpretation, and Metrohm has introduced a 20,000-compound Raman library covering a wide range of application areas.

S.T. Japan-Europe GmbH, which supplies software and libraries to the vibrational spectroscopy community, has introduced the Spectra Genius, a software package for display, search and mixture analysis.


As mentioned above, components are used in constructing an instrument whether built in your laboratory or by an instrument vendor. These are as varied as the instruments themselves and as Table VIII shows, we have optical fibers, light sources, and lasers in the category this year.

Armadillo SIA has introduced a line of multimode step-index optical fibers designed to transmit from 180 nm to 18 microns providing coverage in all the optical spectroscopy regions. These have uses in areas such as forensics, semiconductor manufacturing, and laser delivery applications.

Light sources are another component area where new products have been introduced. Spectrolight, Inc. has introduced three sources. The first is a tunable light-emitting diode (LED) light source covering the range of 430 to 700 nm. The second is a picosecond tunable supercontinuum laser source with a wavelength coverage range of 400 to 1700 nm. And the third source is another tunable plasma lamp that covers the range of 255 to 1700 nm.

Complementing these sources, Spectrolight, Inc. also introduced two tunable bandpass filters to work with any collimated light source and have similar spectra ranges as the tunable supercontinuum laser sources mentioned above.

Finally, Hübner Photonics has introduced a single frequency 785 nm laser, the Cobolt Disco 785, appropriate for Raman spectroscopy.

Trends and Conclusions

New product introductions continue to trend smaller and lighter, with more features and more straightforward use. Service typically becomes simpler and more cost effective, since it may be possible to swap major assemblies in the field or better yet, swap the entire instrument.

With these ease-of-use features comes a different set of problems. The expertise to recognize if the experiment and the data are valid may not be available to the user. The author recently saw a preprint on a preprint server where all the spectra presented had a significant experimental issue, and it was obvious the authors did not recognize there was a problem. Making the instrument user-friendly may mean a data file is delivered, but means nothing. This becomes more of an issue when the final output to the user is significantly processed before reporting, as in an FT-IR instrument.

So how do we as a community of analytical chemists and spectroscopists cope with this problem? Through education. The educational resources offered by Pittcon, SciX, and EAS can help fill these gaps. Both in-person and online offerings are available. And as I mentioned in this review last year, the professional societies are on hand to help. They have education programs that can fill the gaps. Working together as a community between instrument companies, professional societies, and publishers, we can provide the resources to make a measurement easily, interpret it appropriately, and report it accurately.

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