Rapid Identification of Unknown Chemicals with Handheld Raman Analysis

In cases of chemical leakages during transport or on industrial sites, it is important to determine the characteristics and composition of the leaked material as soon as possible.

A rapid identification method is required, to determine whether the chemicals are flammable, carcinogenic, toxic, or cause discomfort in respiration, irritation to eyes, or skin.

SciAps Handheld Raman analyzers, such as the ReporteR, are ideally suited for this type of application, thanks their rugged design and advanced analysis technology.

SciAps Handheld Raman Analyzers

Raman spectroscopy can analyze the samples directly through their containers such as quartz vials, glass jars, plastic bottles and bags, thus enabling more safe and efficient testing for volatile and caustic materials in particular (Figure 1). SciAps Handheld Raman analyzers have high-speed sample throughput with reduced risk of cross-contamination and injury.

Raman spectroscopy can test samples directly through most common containers.

Figure 1. Raman spectroscopy can test samples directly through most common containers.

Advantages of SciAps Handheld Raman Analyzers

SciAps Handheld Raman analyzers enable instantaneous on-site molecular analysis, allowing operators to rapidly understand the scope of a range of emergencies. Hazardous materials can be identified within seconds, allowing the necessary measures to be taken immediately, and helping to avoid wider contamination or an adverse safety and health hazard.

As organic contaminants can be identified instantly, first responders can take necessary actions immediately on site. This, in turn, leads to rapid cleanups in a cost effective manner. The ability to perform testing in the field reduces overall analytical costs by limiting the dependence on labs pertaining to routine confirmatory tests.

Case Study

Figure 2 is an illustration of a contaminated site evaluation using the SciAps Reporter for rapid analysis of multiple unknown organic substances. The whole process of collecting and placing liquid samples into glass vials, and subsequent analysis took only a few seconds. The issues of manual sample handling and resulting cross-contamination were greatly reduced as Raman spectroscopy is capable of testing through container materials, and is unaffected by water contamination.

An example of a contaminated site evaluation

Figure 2. An example of a contaminated site evaluation

Figure 3 shows the analysis results, revealing the identity of the organic substances involved within seconds. The substances identified were kerosene, trichloroethylene, and benzene. The organic substances can be clearly differentiated from each other due to their characteristic "fingerprint" collected by the SciAps Reporter.

The analysis results

Figure 3. The analysis results

This analysis was successfully completed with the help of the unique characteristics of in-field Raman.

Conclusion

Sample collection is simple, facilitating operators to collect samples rapidly for instant in-field analysis. This quality is crucial in the case of flammable and/or volatile organics. The analytical results aided the operators to take necessary measures regarding risk management and containment in the field.

Moreover, analytical costs were reduced as only additional samples were set aside for routine confirmatory laboratory analysis. By this way, on-site response was accelerated and decisions taken in the field were corroborated.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by SciAps, Inc.

For more information on this source, please visit SciAps, Inc.

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