Agilent Reinvents the FTIR Imaging Microscope

Agilent has introduced a technological breakthrough in microscopes and chemical imaging systems.  The Agilent Cary 610 and Cary 620 FTIR spectrometer microscopes offer a triple combination of the highest spatial resolution, with the largest field of view, in the shortest period of time.  The instruments are designed for use in a wide range of applications, including biomedical, materials, polymers, food, forensics, pharmaceutical and chemical.

The Cary 610 is a single-point FTIR microscope, while the Cary 620 is a Focal Plane Array (FPA) based chemical imaging FTIR microscope.

FTIR stands for “Fourier Transform InfraRed.”  FTIR spectroscopy is a technique in which information about a sample is collected over a wide spectral range – in this case, an infrared spectrum.  Fourier was a French mathematician whose mathematical process is used in the data conversion.

FTIR imaging techniques often require you to choose between (1) how much area of the sample is measured (the field of view), (2) the level of detail obtained (the spatial resolution), and (3) the amount of time it takes.  The new Cary 600 Series instruments can provide clear, highly detailed images that would normally take hours to measure… all in a matter of minutes.

For comparison, a Linear Array detector-based FTIR imaging system collects only 16 spectra in a time-consuming single measurement, with a pixel resolution of 6.25 μm at best.  The Cary 620 can collect up to 16,384 spectra in seconds, with a pixel resolution as low as 1.1 μm.  (A micron is one millionth of a meter.)

Until now, the only way to obtain high quality, high spatial resolution FTIR chemical images has been at a synchrotron – a building-sized particle accelerator.  Agilent’s announcement has brought the power of synchrotron-based FTIR imaging to the laboratory benchtop.

The Cary 620 matches the power of a state-of-the-art synchrotron

The Cary 620 matches the power of a state-of-the-art synchrotron

“The new high magnification optics enable visualization and quantification of the biochemical content of individual cells,” says Professor Kathleen Gough of the University of Manitoba, Canada.  “This analysis is possible with a thermal source instrument for the first time, because of the high magnification and bright illumination in the Agilent system.”


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