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Rapid spectroscopy for greater scientific insights

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Advemto Ash Kai and Paul v2

L to R: Dr Ashwath Sundaresan, Wellington UniVentures Senior Commercialisation Manager—Dr Kai Chen, Co-Inventor—Dr Paul Geraghty, Wellington UniVentures Commercialisation Manager.

Spectroscopy is an exploratory tool that's used by scientists—in virtually all fields of science and technology—to investigate and explore things that are too small to be seen through a microscope, e.g. molecules, and even smaller sub-atomic particles like protons, neutrons and electrons. 

Conventional spectroscopy methods work by shining a spectrum of light through a sample, and then monitoring which colours are reflected or absorbed in order to see how the material responds. The process can be used to identify the nature of compounds in a sample, monitor the progress of chemical processes and assess the purity of materials. Used extensively in fields such as biomedical science—particularly in the areas of tissue analysis and medical imaging—spectroscopy is also essential to the discovery of new materials.

However, traditional spectroscopy methods only allow for one experiment to be carried out at a time, e.g. testing how one colour of light is absorbed by a sample is a separate experiment to testing how that light is reflected. Not only is the set-up for each experiment time-consuming, scientists are unable to see potential interactions between the different tests—limiting scientific understanding as a result.

Victoria University of Wellington researchers have developed a rapid spectroscopy tool that enables scientists to integrate separate spectroscopy experiments into just one—reducing the time it takes to conduct testing (and analyse the resulting data) from months down to just days—while opening up the ability for greater scientific insights.

Features and benefits

Faster experiments and analysis

Traditional spectroscopy methods require samples to be tested via multipleseparate experiments. This new technology could help scientists to test samples in just one experiment, saving them laboratory set-up time, and significantly reducing the amount of time required to analyse resulting data.

New scientific insights

Being able to incorporate multiple tests into one experiment enables scientists to study data from complex interactions and obtain previously unattainable scientific insights and understanding.

High level of accuracy

Accuracy is not compromised with this novel tool; the level of accuracy is as high as traditional spectroscopy methods, if not higher.

Next steps

The inventors—Professor Justin Hodgkiss and Dr Kai Chen from the University’s School of Chemical and Physical Sciences—have been working closely with Wellington UniVentures to patent and commercialise their technology and, having now built a proof-of-concept, are currently looking for beachhead customers in North America and Europe.

Ashwath Sundaresan
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Ashwath Sundaresan

Senior Commercialisation Manager

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