Dr. Katherine A. Bakeev, Director of Marketing and Customer Development for B&W Tek, talks to AZoM about the new I-Raman Pro ST and the impressive measuring flexibility it offers users.
SM: What did you present to visitors at Pittcon 2017?
KB: This year, our booth was full of our innovative products! We unveiled our new i-Raman Pro ST high throughput Raman spectrometer. This Raman system runs on our breakthrough See_Through™ technology, allowing users to make measurements through a variety of materials.
We also demonstrated our i-Raman Plus portable Raman system, as well as our handheld Raman systems, the NanoRam® for pharmaceutical applications and the TacticID® for safety and security. Additionally, we presented our NanoLIBS handheld laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analyser, the companion to our NanoRam for pharmaceutical raw material ID, especially suited for ionic salts such as NaCl.
SM: What new features does the new I-Raman Pro ST offer users?
KB: Using B&W Tek’s patent pending See_Through™ technology, this system dramatically enhances the Raman signature of the content, allowing for identification of materials inside visually opaque containers such as white plastic bottles, paper envelopes and tablet coatings. The See_Through™ technology enables this system to identify materials through barrier layers, measure dark materials and provide consistent, accurate measurement of non-uniform samples.
SM: How has the system been developed to measure even the weakest Raman signals?
KB: This system uses a high throughput spectrometer and deep cooling to give a stronger signal and stability over longer integration times. It also features a large sampling area that significantly improves analysis reproducibility for heterogeneous samples and minimizes power density, which facilitates the measurement of darker materials that would be susceptible to photo damage under conventional Raman spectroscopy.
SM: What measuring flexibility does the new I-Raman Pro ST offer users?
KB: This system is capable of measuring through a variety of materials. Some of these materials include clear or semi-transparent containers, white and red plastics, pill coatings, yellow and manila colored paper, white packaging envelopes and glass.
Additionally, the i-Raman Pro ST is a fully integrated system with a built-in tablet computer preinstalled with BWSpec® Mobile, intuitive software that allows for material identification and real-time predictions. This system has specialized sampling kits that can be used to take advantage of the high throughput design to work with a variety of sampling accessories that can address different application needs, such as a cuvette holder, video microscope and telescope adaptors for stand-off measurements.
SM: How does the system compare to research grade systems?
KB: Our portable Raman systems are research grade! One of the best features of our i-Raman series of portable Raman systems is that they provide research grade capabilities on the go. Users are able to use the system in the lab and then transport it into the field whenever necessary. This system operates with touch-friendly BWSpec® Mobile software on a fully-integrated tablet PC, featuring intuitive acquisition and control software that allows for identification and real-time prediction capabilities.
SM: Where are you seeing or do you anticipate the new system being used the most?
KB: This system is a great fit in a wide variety of different industries. We see this as an excellent tool in forensics and in many industries that need rapid material identification without removing samples from packaging. For example, the i-Raman Pro ST can be used for chemical and pharmaceutical resellers who need to verify material without opening packaging (i.e. chemical warehousing). This is also a beneficial tool to use during inspections, postal or other, to identify materials concealed in envelopes and similar packaging. Users with dark samples, energetic materials or samples sensitive to laser excitation will now be able to measure these materials, and users with inhomogeneous material – powder blends, tablets – will get more reproducible results with the larger sampling area of the See_Through™ technology. Its decreased power density and ability to see through barrier layers can be used in biomedical studies where measurements through skin or other tissue is needed at a power level that will not damage the sample.
SM: B&WTek has built a reputation for delivering high quality portable raman systems. Where does the new I-Raman pro ST fit within the family of portable raman systems you offer?
KB: The i-Raman Pro ST is the latest in our family of award-winning portable Raman systems. Each system has various features, giving users a variety of different specifications to choose from depending on their application. We’re proud to support many different industries with our instruments and offer customizable solutions to fit customer needs. Our See_Through™ technology extends our line to be able to see more in more places with the flexibility of portability and the power of optimized algorithms to rapidly identify unknown samples without perturbing the materials.
SM: How do you think the portable raman market has changed over the last few years?
KB: Raman spectroscopy has become an essential tool in many industries because of the portability of the systems. The easy, intuitive software in portable instruments has brought Raman to non –expert users. Because of the excellent performance of our portable Raman systems, they are also used by experts who benefit from the portability and the affordability of Raman in a smaller package.
SM: How do you plan on developing your portable Raman systems further?
KB: B&W Tek has been an innovator in the field of lasers, spectrometers and solutions for 20 years and continues along our path of innovation. As a company dedicated to mobile spectroscopy solutions, we strive to provide solutions that can contribute to society from product quality (verifying raw materials), to safety and security in identifying hazardous and controlled substances, to health (cancer research, medical diagnostics) and the environment. Our product family continues to grow to meet these needs, and we expect to continue in miniaturization coupled with powerful, intuitive software that deliver a valuable solution.
SM: What did you gain from attending Pittcon 2017?
KB: During our time at Pittcon, we worked tirelessly to present our newest system and inform users of our innovative See_Through™ technology. We wanted to give attendees the chance to see the i-Raman Pro ST firsthand in our booth and learn more information during our live demo.
About Katherine Bakeev, PhD
Dr. Katherine A. Bakeev is the Director of Marketing and Customer Development for B&W Tek in Delaware. She is a certified spectroscopist with many years of industrial experience applying spectroscopy and chemometrics to provide process understanding and solve problems in the electronics, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, with companies including GlaxoSmithKline, CAMO Software and Foss NIRSystems. Katherine earned her PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst has a Masters in Technology Management from Stevens Institute of Technology, and a BS in Macromolecular Science from Case Western Reserve University.
She is the author of numerous scientific papers and edited a book on Process Analytical Technology, now in its second edition. She is a member of the Society of Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) since 1993, serving on the Executive Committee from 2010-2014 and was named a Fellow of SAS in 2015. She serves an Associate Editor of the journal Applied Spectroscopy and for NIRNews. She is the past president of the Council for Near Infrared Spectroscopy (CNIRS), and a member of the ASTM committees E13 (Molecular Spectroscopy and Separation Science) and E55 (Manufacture of Pharmaceutical Products).
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