Part of the Oxford Instruments Group

Photonic Solutions for Chemistry

Andor’s modular spectroscopy platforms are designed to tackle a wide range of photonics application challenges spanning Chemistry, Catalysis, Materials Science, Analytical Chemistry, Photochemistry and Photophysics.

Optical spectroscopic techniques can be employed to non-invasively study changes in composition of chemicals or materials. Chemical reaction products or transient behaviours can be probed by fast reaction monitoring or more intricate pump-probe Raman or absorption spectroscopy. In analytical chemistry, atomic and molecular spectroscopic signatures can be used to identify and quantify specific chemical species, with a myriad of real-world applications.

Furthermore, Andor’s Optistat range of Optical Cryostats can be integrated into spectroscopy set-ups to provide precision control of sample temperatures from 4 K up to 500 K.


Reaction Monitoring and Catalysis

The spectroscopic study of the transformation processes of chemical species (reactants) to new chemical species (products) with different structure/arrangement/properties.

Chemical reaction types include synthesis, decomposition, displacement (a more active element displaces another less active element from a compound), redox and isomerisation.

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Reaction Monitoring

Photochemistry and Photophysics

The study of the effect of light absorption (typically in the UV-IR region) by chemical species, resulting in chemical or physical property changes. 

It includes the analysis of the transformation processes in molecules, specifically studying their transient excited states /energy transfer processes, as characterised through a Jablonski diagram, on timescales ranging from millisecond to picoseconds.

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Analytical Chemistry

Atoms and molecules have unique spectra, meaning that optical spectroscopy can be used to non-invasively detect, identify and quantify substances. 

Furthermore, vibrational techniques such as Raman spectroscopy, which typically can yield very fine fingerprint spectra, can discriminate and measure chemical species with very high specificity.

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Analytical Chemistry

Process Control and Quality Control

The concepts of reaction monitoring and analytical chemistry combine under industrial settings in terms of the use of optical spectroscopy for process control. 

Furthermore, spectroscopy also finds widespread use in quality control and to determine authenticity.

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Process and Quality Control


Raman Spectroscopy

A laser scattering-based spectroscopy technique which non-invasively probes the molecular composition and structure of samples. It can be used to identify chemical species throughout reactions, or to monitor reaction rates by looking at the intensity of spectral features specific to reactants, catalysts and products. Raman signal is typically quite weak, but techniques like Resonance Raman exploit specific light absorption properties of molecules over a given wavelength range to provide significant Raman signal enhancement. 

For organic species, Raman signal competes with fluorescence from the sample - a near-infrared laser or UV laser (with wavelength outside the absorption range of the molecule) can be used to greatly minimise or supress unwanted fluorescence contribution.

Raman Spectroscopy

Absorption Spectroscopy

If light of impinges on an atom or molecule in its ground state, photons of specific energies (wavelengths) are absorbed to promote electrons to an excited state. The absorbed photon energy is determined specifically by the gap between ground and excited state of that particular atom or molecule. Furthermore, by measuring the amount of light absorbed, a quantitative determination of the amount of analyte element present can be made. UV-Vis-NIR spectroscopy is useful to characterise the absorption, transmission, and reflectivity of a variety of materials such as pigments, biological, coatings, windows, filters, or analyse the dynamics of chemical reactions.

Absorption Spectroscopy

Transient Spectroscopy

Transient spectroscopy encompasses a powerful set of techniques for probing and characterizing the electronic and structural properties of short-lived excited states (transient states) of photochemically or photophysically relevant molecules. These states are accessed upon absorption of photons and essentially represent higher energy forms of the molecule, differing from the lowest energy ground state in the distribution of electrons and/or nuclear geometry. 

A battery of complimentary pump-probe techniques is often used in laser spectroscopy laboratories, including Time-Resolved Resonance Raman (TR3) Spectroscopy, Time-Resolved Emission Spectroscopy and Time-Resolved Absorption (Transient Absorption) Spectroscopy.

Transient Spectroscopy

Luminescence Spectroscopy

Luminescence spectroscopy is used for a large variety of applications including for example the study of metal complexes, organic LEDs (OLEDs), quantum dots, cell dynamics, stand-off detection of chemical compounds (e.g. explosives) or measurement of scintillator properties. Modalities of luminescence spectroscopy include fluorescence/phosphorescence, cathodoluminescence and chemiluminescence.

Luminescence spectroscopy can be used to measure the concentration of a compound, as the intensity is linearly proportional to the concentration of the luminescent molecule. Pump-probe luminescence spectroscopy can also provide information on the lifetime of the excited energy levels in molecules or atoms. In the context of the development of fluorescence dyes for biological applications, fluorescence spectroscopy can be use do determine the efficiency of the fluorescence emission process after initial excitation, i.e. the "fluorescence quantum yield".


Micro-Spectroscopy covers a very wide range of spectroscopy modalities with the common character that the spectroscopic measurement is made on the microscopic scale.

Andor spectroscopy systems are routinely used for Raman-based techniques including Micro- Raman and Fluorescence/Photoluminescence, Diffuse Scattering micro-spectroscopy and Multiphoton micro-spectroscopy.

Optical Emission Spectroscopy

OES involves applying an electrical charge to the sample which vaporizing a small amount of material. A discharge plasma with a distinct spectroscopic signature is created, from which the elemental breakdown of the sample can be determined. OES is a rapid method that can be used to determine the elemental composition of a variety of metals and alloys.

OES usually involves collecting highly resolved spectroscopic signature across the Ultra-violet and Visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum.  

Optical Emission Spectroscopy

X-Ray Spectroscopy

X-ray spectroscopy is an umbrella term for several spectroscopic techniques for characterization of materials by using X-ray excitation, including the likes of X-Ray Absorption (XAS, XANES, EXAFS) and Emission (XES). These modalities are used to probe the electronic structure of atoms or the atomic chemical make-up of a sample. Analysis of the X-ray emission spectrum produces qualitative and quantitative information about the elemental composition of the specimen.

They can provide information on the oxidation state of species, but also find applications for in situ and in operando studies of functional systems (enclosed by opaque structures).

X-Ray Spectroscopy

X-Ray Diffraction & Scattering

X-ray diffraction and scattering techniques measure the scattered intensity and/or energy of an X-ray beam to provide detailed information about the crystal structure, chemical composition, and physical properties of materials and thin films. They are non-destructive analytical techniques which are based on observing the scattered intensity of an X-ray beam hitting a sample as a function of incident and scattered angle, polarization, and wavelength or energy. Scattering techniques include Wide-angle X-ray diffraction (WAXD), Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and Wide-angle X-ray scattering (WAXS). 

X-Ray Diffraction

Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy

Time correlated statistical analysis of fluctuations in fluorescence intensity. This is commonly utilised to provide information on the concentration & size fluctuations of molecules in solution over time. A common application of FCS is the analysis of the concentration fluctuations of fluorescent particles/molecules in solution, in which the fluorescence emitted from a very tiny confocal space in solution is observed. This tiny, focused laser beam waist would typically contain only a small number of fluorescent molecules. Analysis yields the average number of fluorescent particles and average diffusion time when the particle is passing through the probed space, ultimately allowing both concentration and size of the particle to be determined. Such parameters can be important in chemistry and biophysics research.

Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy



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Cameras for UV to NIR and SWIR Spectroscopy

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Optical Cryostats for Spectroscopy

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Learning Centre Resources

Customer Publications

Author Title Year
Medagedara et al Decorrelated singlet and triplet exciton delocalization in acetylene-bridged Zn-porphyrin dimers 2024
Ishikawa et al Surface sulfurization of amorphous carbon films in the chemistry of oxygen plasma added with SO2 or OCS for high-aspect-ratio etching 2024
Liu et al Light-driven eco-evolutionary dynamics in a synthetic replicator system 2024
Bora et al New Multifunctional Bipyrimidine-Based Chromophores for NLO-Active Thin-Film Preparation 2024
Wang et al Analysis of SF6 decomposed products by fibre-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for gas-insulated switchgear diagnosis 2024
Wang et al Intercomparison of NO3 under Humid Conditions with Open-Path and Extractive IBBCEAS in an Atmospheric Reaction Chamber 2023
Xu et al In Situ Confocal Raman Microscopy of Redox Polymer Films on Bulk Electrode Supports 2023
Ratschmeier et al Influence of interfacial water and cations on the oxidation of CO at the platinum/ionic liquid interface 2023
O’Neill et al Photophysical and electrochemical properties of meso-tetrathien-2′-yl porphyrins compared to meso-tetraphenylporphyrin 2023
Wallace et al Low-Frequency Raman Spectroscopy of Pure and Cocrystallized Mycophenolic Acid 2023
Raics et al Photocycle alteration and increased enzymatic activity in genetically modified photoactivated adenylate cyclase OaPAC 2023
Ucker et al Surface modification of T-Nb2O5 with low-crystallinity Nb2O5 to enhance photocatalytic degradation of rhodamine B 2023
Fayad et al Adsorption of Nickel Ions on the γ-Alumina Surface: Competitive Effect of Protons and Its Impact on Concentration Profiles 2023
Rossi et al In Situ Observation of Chemical Reactions at Buried Solid/Solid Interfaces in Coextruded Multilayer Polymer Films 2023
Zheng et al Chain Conformation and Exciton Delocalization in a Push–Pull Conjugated Polymer 2023