Pittcon 2007 showcases spectroscopy

CHICAGO, IL-With 21,000 attendees and more than 1000 exhibitors, Pittcon 2007 (February 25-March 2) supersedes most photonics-related trade shows in size.

Mar 15th, 2007

CHICAGO, IL-With 21,000 attendees and more than 1000 exhibitors, Pittcon 2007 (February 25-March 2) supersedes most photonics-related trade shows in size. The caveat is that the show’s focus on scientific instrumentation and other laboratory equipment narrows the photonics-related portion of the exhibits and technical sessions to perhaps 25% of the whole. While the majority of this portion relates to spectroscopy, the remainder is an interesting assortment of technology and applications ranging across the electromagnetic spectrum from terahertz to x-ray.

Some Pittcon exhibitors, which have existed in the scientific-instrument “space” for years, have products that are of increasing relevance to the broader photonics industry. For example, MicroTech Instruments (Eugene, OR) supplies terahertz sources, spectrometers, detectors, and optics for scientific uses. Vladimir Kozlov, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing, mentioned that the scientific terahertz community has been a small but stable customer base for years, and MicroTech has not traditionally had the need for much PR. However, the company’s terahertz sources, which are based on RF technology, can produce a higher output than the time-domain (ultrafast-laser-based) sources often used.

Ion Optics (Billerica, MA) produces a mid-IR tuned-band emitter that fits within a standard TO-8 can and is based on a thermal source and a photonic-crystal structure that tunes and confines the IR emission to the spectral region of interest. The device can emit 1.5 to 2 mW into either the 3-5 or 8-12 µm bands. Keith Fallon, director of sales for industrial products, was very focused on the use of this emitter in gas sensors, air-quality monitors, automotive-emissions detectors, and other sensors.

Pittcon was well represented by companies with familiar names. Horiba Instruments (Irvine, CA) introduced a second generation of its laser-diffraction particle-size analyzer, the Partica LA-950; the instrument can measure the particle size and range of dry powders as well as particles in liquid solutions. The particle analyzer drew a positive response; in particular, the ease at which samples can be swapped in and out became very apparent when demonstrated live. Horiba Jobin Yvon (Edison, NJ) showed a series of OEM miniature Raman systems (lasers, spectrometers, optics, and detectors) customized for qualified large-volume customers.

PerkinElmer (Waltham, MA) unveiled its Spectrum 400 spectrometer for Fourier-transform (FT)-IR and FT-NIR measurements, which is aimed-as so many instruments at Pittcon are-at chemical, pharmaceutical, and academic applications. The company also introduced a benchtop pushbutton Raman spectrometer that relies on dispersive echelle-spectrograph technology and has no moving parts.

Newport (Irvine, CA) exhibited its Oriel IS Series double-grating minispectrometer, which contains a silicon NMOS (n-type metal-oxide semiconductor) photodiode array that natively performs well in the UV so that it does not need a degradation-prone UV-enhancement coating. New Wave Research introduced a 193 nm fast excimer-laser ablation system, an analytical tool for bulk and microfeature analysis.

-John Wallace

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