Many sectors of science and industry rely on spectroscopy to obtain accurate information about objects of interest. Infrared spectroscopy plays a critical role in the field of chemistry as it can provide data about different molecules.
The most advanced research method available for now is able to make up to 1 million observations ber second. A team from the University of Tokyo has managed to develop a new technique that could boost the number of possible observations by up to 100 times.
More common than it seems
Infrared spectroscopy is employed in a large number of applications, from exploring the climate to evaluating the quality of select food, as it offers the ability to identify what molecules can be found in a sample of a substance and with significant accuracy in comparison to the use of other methods.
When infrared light is projected on a sample, the components of the sample alter the way in which the light is received, as it can be allowed to pass or reflected. This reaction is used to create a chemical fingerprint of the sample, which is also known as a spectra.
Faster and more accurate
The new method, which is known under the name of time-stretch infrared spectroscopy, is up to 100 times faster in comparison to the older method, which hit a sensibility cap. For reference, the new method can measure in second what would have required more than two years with the method used 50 years ago.
By stretching a very short pulse laser pulse released by a sample, a detector and other hardware tools have more time to analyze it, a feat which is available thanks to the presence of a quantum cascade detector.
According to one of the researchers who contributed to the project, the new method could be used across many scientific fields and even contribute to the development of new ones.