Agilent and Raman Spectroscopy

Earlier this summer, Agilent closed its acquisition of UK-based Cobalt Light Systems, a leader in Raman spectroscopy.

What is Raman spectroscopy?

Optical spectroscopy analyzes a material by studying its interaction with light.  By measuring the amount of light absorbed or emitted by a sample, we can determine what it’s made of and how much of it there is.  (“Spectroscopy” is Latin for “ghost watcher.”)

Raman spectroscopy works by measuring the vibrational and rotational changes in molecules when they interact with light.  (It is named for Indian scientist Sir C. V. Raman, who won the 1930 Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery.)  Conventional Raman spectroscopy is ideal for near-surface chemical identification.  But it has limitations when dealing with samples in sealed, non-transparent containers.

Cobalt’s Raman technologies can analyze materials below the surface.  For example, transmission Raman spectroscopy (TRS) can analyze an entire pharmaceutical tablet in addition to its coating.

And Cobalt’s spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) can measure through opaque barriers and surfaces.  This is particularly useful for public safety, including airport security and hazardous substance identification.

“Raman spectroscopy is one of the fastest-growing segments in spectroscopy,” says Agilent’s Phil Binns.

Cobalt’s customers include more than 20 of the largest 25 global pharmaceutical companies, and more than 75 airports across Europe and Asia-Pacific (including eight of the 10 largest European airports), with over 500 devices deployed at airport checkpoints.

Thanks to Cobalt Light Systems’ Dr. Oliver Presly for his help with today’s post!


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