Integrated Spectroscopy in Compact Analytical Devices
Integrated Spectroscopy in Compact Analytical Devices
Analytical equipment that utilize embedded spectroscopic techniques is used to acquire physical and chemical information of materials, digitize and organize the data, analyze the data and deliver useful information for follow-up actions. Critically important to our individual well-being and health, analytical equipment is used to measure a wide range of parameters from inorganic materials (solid/liquid/gas) to organic materials such as tissue, blood and saliva. Traditionally, the technologies used to make these measurements were quite large. However, as semiconductor technology continues to advance, improvements yield smaller, lower cost components that can often be embedded within a compact device while occupying a minimal footprint and offering ease of use. Immediate analyses can now be made in the field with portable equipment or on the desktop in a medical setting.
Addressing the increasing complexity involved in developing this type of equipment where miniaturization and integrated MEMS (Micro-electromechanical systems) enabled technologies are utilized will be presented herein. The advent of micro-sized spectrometers, shown in Figure 1 available from JADAK, is important because light is so often used in the assessing the targeted substance or sample. Using light in combination with various spectroscopic techniques to analyze the properties of matter is a well-established laboratory practice.  Generally, physical samples conducive to spectroscopic analysis are collected, labeled and delivered to laboratories where various forms of electromagnetic radiation are transmitted through, reflected off of or used to photo-excite energy levels within the material. Detectors then collect and measure the response and the resultant signals are analyzed to provide needed information about the material. The light sources employed range from highly coherent, mono-chromatic sources such as lasers to broad based incandescent sources. The source of the incident radiation and the frequency range is chosen based upon the particular type of spectroscopic technique that is employed. MEMS and solid-state technologies have now combined many of the elements of a standard spectroscopic system including wavelength specific LEDs, solid state CCD detectors, micro-machined light dispersing elements and application specific integrated circuits (ASIC) used for data processing into an integrated offering.
Applications of Fully Integrated Spectroscopic Equipment into OEM Devices
There are numerous opportunities to integrate spectroscopic technology into portable, mobile or desktop devices. Measurements involving the visible light spectrum, from deep blue to near infrared, can be deployed for any application where precise illumination and color characteristics are important. Basic visible and near IR spectroscopic techniques can be employed across a wide array of applications including:
- Medical Near IR non-invasive blood glucose monitoring
- Medical Hemoglobin Oxygen saturation in tissues
- Medical Near IR Serum Analysis
- UV/VIS fluorescence spectroscopy for tissue diagnostics including cancer detection
- Sugar content and grain quality in agriculture
- Water quality in municipal and industrial settings
- Counterfeit detection of color critical items
- LCD color monitor performance in commercial, medical and military environments
- Manufacturing processing of color critical components
An example of a portable, spectroscopic based device is the BRAVO from Bruker. The unit employs the use of laser induced Raman scattering techniques to assess the chemical composition of substances by looking at emission of vibrational and rotational modes of molecules which creates a characteristic spectral signature for that compound. It incorporates wireless technology, as well as an integrated bar code scanner to capture and record information related to the sample under study.
The possibilities now exist for the inclusion of portable, low cost and accurate spectral measurement devices into hand held and OEM applications where space is limited.
Development of Portable & Desktop Spectroscopic Equipment
The integration of spectroscopic measurement capabilities into portable or OEM equipment carries additional complexities due to constraints such as size, weight and availability of power to the device. The range of spectral frequencies spanning the features of interest, spectral resolution, signal to noise ratio, sensitivity, throughput and speed of measurement all must be considered in hand held and OEM applications. Designers must consider thermal stability and the range of environmental conditions, such as humidity, condensation, mechanical shock and vibration forces. Questions such as “How fast can the data be taken?” and “How stable does the device need to be?” arise when designing such equipment. In addition, calibration procedures are required to ensure that both wavelength and intensity are accurately represented.
Development of Portable/Desktop Analytical Equipment
Many factors and requirements need to be considered when developing a portable or desktop analytical system which incorporates compact spectral components that span across several engineering disciplines.
Last but not least, product life-cycle management is an important consideration for any OEM product, and especially critical for industries regulated by the FDA, such as medical devices. Regulatory and safety requirements must be met. Medical device manufacturer’s face a number of FDA mandated demands and regulations associated with well documented manufacturing and designs. Therefore, selection of components from reliable suppliers that understand quality management systems, change control impact, and long-term availability can ensure consistent support over the life of the device and mitigate the risk of requalification.
Original Equipment Manufacturers that typically own the enabling proprietary information technology often rely heavily on trusted development partners to achieve cost effective and timely design programs. There are many complexities and trade-offs associated with large development programs which must be considered.
Once considered as laboratory equipment only, complex spectroscopic analyses can be performed in compact, cost effective designs that can be deployed either in mobile solutions or stand-alone, diagnostics and laboratory environments. New and unique products are making their way to market and more are to follow. In addition to traditional analytical product developments, spectroscopic equipment has additional unique requirements that must be considered by product managers, development and service engineers. The owners of value-added, proprietary analytical algorithms who wish to quickly, and cost-effectively deploy their solutions can benefit by employing experienced partners.
With a large staff of customer facing engineers, JADAK has the products, resources, capabilities and expertise in the development of complex equipment in stringent regulatory environments. You can count on us to leverage our experience to maximize your program outcomes.
Headquartered in Syracuse, NY, JADAK, LLC supports medical device manufacturers by delivering integrated camera based technologies and image analysis software for machine vision applications, RFID technologies for surgical tracking and reagent anti-counterfeiting measures, as well as Chart Recorders for EKG and Patient Monitors.
JADAKs line of micro-spectrometer products (SM Series) are ideal for embedded spectroscopy applications and are supported by JADAK’s industry leading engineering team providing integration and customer specific design services.
 http://www.bravo-bruker.com/pdf/BRAVO_Brochure_EN.pdf, N.B. No trademark usage is indicated for the use of BRAVO, an acronym for Bruker Raman Verification Optics.