Staying Updated with Spectroscopic Techniques: How Lead Investigators Adapt to a Changing Industry

Fact checked by" Jerome Workman, Jr.

Spectroscopy is at the forefront of many changes happening across many industries. Here, three lead investigators comment on how they stay updated with the latest innovations and developments.

Spectroscopy, the study of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and matter, remains important in scientific research, with applications spanning chemistry, physics, astronomy, and biology. Recent advancements in spectroscopic techniques and instrumentation are significantly advancing several applications areas, including material science, agriculture, environmental monitoring, and pharmaceutical analysis, to name a few.

Serious concentrated female microbiologist in sterile clothing and safety goggles sitting at table and dropping reagent in petri dish while doing research in laboratory | Image Credit: © Seventyfour -

Serious concentrated female microbiologist in sterile clothing and safety goggles sitting at table and dropping reagent in petri dish while doing research in laboratory | Image Credit: © Seventyfour -

One of the most noteworthy changes is the development of ultrafast spectroscopy techniques. These methods allow scientists to observe molecular and electronic dynamics on the femtosecond timescale, providing unprecedented insights into chemical reactions and material properties (1). Ultrafast lasers and advanced detectors are pivotal in capturing these rapid processes, enabling real-time observation of phenomena that were previously inaccessible (1).

Additionally, advancements in portable and miniaturized spectroscopic devices are broadening the applications in this field (2). As an example, there is an increased demand for portable and miniaturized instrumentation. As a result, handheld Raman spectrometers, for example, are now widely used in pharmaceuticals, environmental monitoring, and forensic science. These devices offer on-site, real-time analysis, drastically reducing the time and cost associated with traditional laboratory methods (2).

The integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into spectroscopic analysis is another significant trend. AI and machine learning algorithms are being employed to interpret complex spectroscopic data, identify patterns, and predict molecular behavior with high accuracy (3). This fusion of spectroscopy with computational techniques enhances the efficiency and depth of data analysis, facilitating discoveries in material science and biochemistry (3).

Moreover, the development of hyperspectral imaging is changing fields such as remote sensing and medical diagnostics. This technique captures a wide spectrum of light for each pixel in an image, providing detailed information about the composition and structure of observed objects (4). Hyperspectral imaging is particularly valuable in agriculture for monitoring crop health and in medicine for detecting early signs of diseases (4).

With all these changes occurring in the industry, one wonders how lead investigators and spectroscopists stay updated with all the current trends and best practices in spectroscopy. Over the past few months, our “Inside the Laboratory” series attempted to discover whether a recurring theme emerged among the respondents we spoke to.

We discovered that two broad themes emerged: lead investigators cited the published literature and attendance at in-person conferences.

“To stay updated with advancements with analytical chemistry and spectroscopic techniques in my field, I make sure that I stay up to date on the literature,” Bryan Eigenbrodt, an associate professor of chemistry at Villanova University, said to Spectroscopy (5).

Dr. Tessa Calhoun of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, shared similar sentiments.

“I’m most excited about the pile of papers I’ve set aside to read about new mathematical and experimental approaches to push capabilities for super-resolution dynamic information,” Calhoun said (6).

The value of reading the literature is that scientists often use different techniques and procedures to study similar phenomenons. For example, Eigenbrodt mentioned that reading other studies allow his laboratory, which uses operando spectroscopy to understand the chemistry occurring in alternative energy fuel cell devices, to develop new approaches to advance research on studies that are already published.

“When we are searching through the literature, we can now ask ourselves, “can we provide a different perspective on this published research by providing an operando spectroscopic perspective?”’ Eigenbrodt said (6).


(1) Maiuri, M.; Garavelli, M.; Cerullo, G. Ultrafast Spectroscopy: State of the Art and Open Challenges. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142 (1), 3–15. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b10533

(2) Crocombe, R. A. The Future of Portable Spectroscopy. Spectroscopy 2020, 35 (7), 12–14.

(3) Workman, Jr., J.; Mark, H. Artificial Intelligence in Analytical Spectroscopy, Part I: Basic Concepts and Discussion. Spectroscopy 2023, 38 (2), 13–22. DOI: 10.56530/spectroscopy.og4284z8

(4) Wetzel, W. Hyperspectral Imaging: An Examination of an Emerging Field in Spectroscopy. Spectroscopy. Available at: (accessed 2024-06-04).

(5) Wetzel, W. The Eigenbrodt Research Laboratory at Villanova University. Spectroscopy. Available at: (accessed 2024-06-04).

(6) Wetzel, W. Inside the Laboratory: The Calhoun Laboratory at the University of Tennessee. Spectroscopy. Available at: (accessed 2024-06-04).

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