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One of the last frontiers of molecular spectroscopy is in the terahertz region, for which instrumentation has only been developed within the past decade.
One of the last frontiers of molecular spectroscopy is in the terahertz region, for which instrumentation has only been developed within the past decade. While the pharmaceutical industry has been the lead adopter of first-generation instruments, applications across several industries offer considerable potential. The terahertz market has shown remarkable growth in its very short lifespan.
Terahertz spectroscopy demand by industry in 2009.
The terahertz region of the electromagnetic spectrum lies between the far infrared and microwave regions and offers information that tends to be complementary to other analytical methods. Many common materials, as well as living tissue, are semitransparent to terahertz radiation, allowing it to probe more than just the surface. It is also nonionizing, making it safe for human exposure.
Terahertz spectroscopy is currently most significantly used in the development of pharmaceuticals, such as for polymorphism analysis. Its inherent qualities offer great potential for medical and clinical applications, such as cancer biopsies, which is an area being invested in heavily by instrument vendors. Security applications are yet another area in which terahertz spectroscopy could hit it big, particularly with a new impetus for spending on airport security technology. The global market for terahertz spectroscopy has grown to around $20 million in 2009, from essentially nothing in 2003.
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, www.strategic-directions.com.