Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

Modular Spectroscopy Solutions for Bio-Science

Andor’s range of high sensitivity cameras and spectrographs offer highly configurable solutions for the characterisation of the chemical and structural properties of biological and engineered bio-materials, from the macro- to the nanoscale, in vivo or ex vivo, with high degree of accuracy and repeatability.

This includes the study of cells and tissues, functionalised molecules for targeted detection or treatment, viruses or pathogens and plants by Raman, Luminescence/Fluorescence, Absorption/Reflectance, Diffuse Reflectance or Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS). In the context of biomedical applications, Spectroscopy is also a key tool for the development of non-invasive cancer and diseases diagnostics in various medical environments, as well as being increasingly used in intraoperative surgery environments to improve the efficiency of procedures.

Spectroscopy Solutions Adapted to Your Needs

Andor’s modular spectroscopy detection solutions provide high sensitivity platforms from UV to SWIR regions, ensuring the highest accuracy and reproducibility of measurements for a wide range of biological samples and biomaterials, photon regimes and setup configurations e.g. micro-spectroscopy.

High Sensitivity & Dynamic Range

  • High sensitivity UV-SWIR
  • Large pixel well depths
  • High resolution matix
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ns to µs

  • Nanosecond gating
  • High sensitivity down to single photon
  • On-head DDG with ps accuracy
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µs to ms

  • Multi-kHz spectral rates
  • High sensitivity down to single photon
  • High resolution matrix
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Spectrograph Systems & Accessories

  • High modularity, high resolution and high throughput Kymera & Shamrock
  • Large simultaneous bandpass, high resolution Mechelle
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Applications and Techniques

Virus & Pathogens

The ability to rapidly detect and accurately identify harmful bio-entities relies on increasingly advanced in vivo, ex vivo and standoff biosensing methods.

Research in that field includes for example the development of bio-tags, functionalised molecules or conjugated nanoparticles and substrates to enhance the detection efficiency of specific target species. It can also involve the development of label-free, sample preparation-free molecular (e.g. Raman, in particular UV-Raman to avoid sample autofluorescence interference) or atomic (e.g. broadband LIBS) methods to directly identify unknown substances in-the-lab or in-the-field, in conjunction with multivariate analysis.

Study of the propagation of virus or pathogens in different media (e.g. liquids, sprays, airborne particles) primarily involves time-resolved imaging methods using fast sCMOS or gated ICCD detectors (e.g. Laser-Induced Fluorescence or LIF), however spectroscopy (e.g. Fluorescence, Raman-based) can also be used to identify / isolate species in complex chemical environments and biomaterial matrixes.

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Cancer & Diseases

Spectroscopy provides a powerful tool for the development of high sensitivity and high specificity methods aiming to detect and identify abnormal molecular/atomic structures associated with various diseases.

Label-free Near Infrared (NIR) Raman, Fluorescence or broadband Diffuse Reflectance spectroscopy can be used in conjunction with chemometrics for the rapid in vivo or ex vivo screening and discrimination of cancerous tissues from healthy structures. Instruments based on this technology are increasingly used for patient diagnostics in medical/clinical environments. Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) also allows the identification of trace elements that can be linked to a particular disease.

Spectroscopy-based analytical techniques also provide important benefits for the development and characterisation of engineered biomolecules and relevant nanomaterials. These structures can be used as biotags e.g. to locate abnormal structures or health markers in complex biological environments, to deliver drugs in specific environments or to assess the efficiency of treatments/drugs against specific diseases.

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Further Reading

Intraoperative surgery

The successful, complete removal of cancerous tissues relies on the use of increasingly advanced tools to assist surgeons in real-time.

Some of the tools sitting at various stage of development, trial or FDA approval process involve photonics techniques. This includes for example fluorescence imaging, where engineered biomolecules designed to bind solely to targets of interest are used to denote the locations of a tumour or its margins.

But it can also involve techniques with higher sensitivity and specificity such as Near Infrared (NIR) Raman spectroscopy, where the unique chemical signature of different tissue types is used to provide unambiguous information on the presence of residual tumour but also to minimise removal of healthy tissues.

Sorting and Quality Control

Photonics-based techniques are routinely used in Research or Pharmaceutical / Industrial environments for the rapid screening of a wide range of biological samples including for example cells, exomes or proteins, microorganisms, engineered biomaterials, biomolecules or tissues.

Spectroscopy encompasses a range of highly specific techniques (e.g. Raman) that can identify properties or functionalities of interest of these samples either directly/label-free, or indirectly through the probing of engineered biomarkers that target specific biological structures or molecules. It therefore represents a powerful tool for high throughput sorting/classification, quality control or medical diagnostics.


Spectroscopy-based techniques can be used to gain insight into plant metabolism and development. Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) provides elemental information is used to identify for example heavy metals and pollutants that could be linked to diseases and potential health hazards for consumers.

Raman Spectroscopy – and in particular Raman mapping - can be used to detect specific chemical species linked to particular metabolic or structural development behaviours (e.g cell walls).

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Biomaterial Engineering

Nanomaterial science is providing increasingly advanced tools for biological and biomedical applications. These include for example functionalised nanoprobes to enhance the in vivo or ex vivo study and identification of specific biological structures, chemical species or functions (e.g. by developing brighter, more stable and lower toxicity quantum dots, SERS-based substrates).

These can in turn be exploited to develop faster, more accurate medical diagnostic schemes, as well as assist surgical procedures in real-time. Other nanostructure families can also improve the efficiency and accuracy of drug delivery or therapeutic treatments.

Expand your Research Capabilities

Andor's detection solutions for biological and biomedical extend beyond spectroscopy:

Learning Centre Resources


Author Title Year
Šindeláˇrová et al Methodology for the Implementation of Internal Standard to Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Analysis of Soft Tissues 2021
Lin et al Discrimination of lung tumor and boundary tissues based on laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and machine learning 2021
Li et al Raman Microspectroscopic Investigation and Classification ofBreast Cancer Pathological Characteristics 2021
Abramcyzk et al Redox Imbalance and Biochemical Changes in Cancer by Probing Redox-Sensitive Mitochondrial Cytochromes in Label-Free Visible Resonance Raman Imaging 2021
Majka et al A new approach to study human perivascular adipose tissue of the internal mammary artery by fiber-optic Raman spectroscopy supported by spectral modelling 2021
Wang et al Quantitative analysis of cadmium in rice roots based on LIBS and chemometrics methods 2021
O’Dwyer et al Automated Raman micro-spectroscopy of epithelial cells for the high-throughput classification 2021
Pavillon et al Deriving accurate molecular indicators of protein synthesis through Raman-based sparse classification 2021
Modlitbová et al Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy as a straightforward bioimaging tool for plant biologists; the case study for assessment of photon-upconversion nanoparticles in Brassica oleracea L. plant 2021
Ricci et al Gold-Etched Silver Nanowire Endoscopy: Toward a WidelyAccessible Platform for Surface-Enhanced Raman Scattering-BasedAnalysis in Living Cells 2021
Akagi et al Non-invasive cell classification using the Paint Raman Express Spectroscopy System (PRESS) 2021
Yang et al Onsite real-time detection of covid-like-virus transmission through air using spark-induced plasma spectroscopy 2021
Brozek-Pluska et al Virtual spectral histopathology of colon cancer - biomedical applications of Raman spectroscopy and imaging 2020
Golubewa et al Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy of Organic Molecules and Living Cells with Gold-Plated Black Silicon 2020
Dmitrovic et al Progress toward a VUV Raman spectrometer to detect pathogens 2020
Desorches et al Development and first in-human use of a Raman spectroscopy guidance system integrated with a brain biopsy needle 2019
Pinto et al Integration of a Raman spectroscopy system to a robotic-assisted surgical system for real-time tissue characterization during radical prostatectomy procedures 2019