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March 8 - 12, 2021


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Virtual Pittcon 2021

Handheld Near-infrared Spectroscopy for Everyday Life Applications: Reality versus Empty Promises

  • Session Number: G12-03
Wednesday, March 10, 2021: 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM


Heinz Siesler
University of Duisburg-Essen


This communication attempts to separate the wheat from the chaff regarding the bid of commercially available handheld near-infrared (NIR) spectrometers and will answer the question of whether this technique is already mature for realistic applications of a non-expert user community. Taking into account its chemical specificity and the simplicity of sample presentation for a broad range of materials, NIR spectroscopy is by far the most advanced vibrational spectroscopic technique in terms of hardware miniaturization. With the further reduction of costs by high-volume manufacturability, numerous companies target a non-expert user community for consumer applications. Thus, a tremendous potential for everyday life can be expected ranging from food testing to detection of fraud and adulteration in a broad area of materials. However, these optimistic prospects have partly led to exaggerated claims of some direct-to-consumer companies regarding the performance of their “NIR scanners” with “cloud evaluation of big data”. Apart from making unrealistic promises, most of the advertising videos oversimplify the measurement procedure to a “point-and-shoot” action with any deficiencies in sample presentation and sample representativeness being taken care of by the cloud evaluation. Such measurements inevitably lead to unfulfilled expectations of the users, and as a consequence of such failures, to a misjudgment of the real potential of handheld NIR spectroscopy. Therefore, this presentation will not only compare the performance parameters of commercial instruments available on the market, but will also outline their realistic applications for a non-expert user community.

Additional Info

Keywords: Please select up to 4 keywords ONLY:
Food Safety,Instrumentation,Materials Characterization,Spectroscopy

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