Low-cost spectroscopy technique could allow detection of microscopic amounts of chemicals for applications in security, law enforcement and research
January 5, 2017

Researchers have developed a microscope that can chemically identify individual micron-sized particles. The new approach could one day be used in airports or other high-security venues as a highly sensitive and low-cost way to rapidly screen people for microscopic amounts of potentially dangerous materials.
In the journal Optics Letters, from The Optical Society (OSA), researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory, USA, demonstrated their new microscope by measuring infrared spectra of individual 3-micron spheres made of silica or acrylic. The new technique uses a simple optical setup consisting of compact components that will allow the instrument to be miniaturized into a portable device about the size of a shoebox.