E18: Modern Portable Analytical Spectroscopy

One-Day Course 
Date is TBA; 8:30am – 5:00pm

Dr. Richard Crocombe, Crocombe Spectroscopic Consulting, Winchester, MA
Dr. Pauline Leary, Smiths Detection, Edgewood, MD

Portable spectrometers are used for many purposes, including quality control and process analyses in industrial environments, and for scene-assessment in law enforcement, emergency response and military applications.  Hardware and software innovations make it possible to manufacture small, light, easy-to-use systems that perform well, and are ruggedized to meet the needs of the field user.  This hands-on course will cover the capabilities of modern portable spectrometers covering elemental spectroscopy (x-ray fluorescence and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy), molecular/optical (infrared and Raman), and mass spec/molecular (ion mobility and gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy).  Advantages, limitations and applications of each method will be detailed.  Attendees will be exposed to sampling and use of these systems during the hands-on exercises.


The target audience for this short course includes: Emergency response personnel, QA/QC personnel, including raw material verification, scientists working in the field, Conservation scientists, forensic scientists and food quality scientists

1. The History of Portable Analytical Spectrometers
a.  Hardware
b.  Software interface
c.  Algorithm Development
2. Review of Different Methods
a. Elemental: X-ray fluorescence and laser induced breakdown spectroscopy
b.  Optical molecular: infrared (IR) and Raman
c.  Mass spec molecular: ion mobility (IMS) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS)
3..  Hands-On Exercises
a.  X-ray fluorescence
b. Infrared
c.  Raman
d.  IMS
e. GC-MS

Dr. Richard Crocombe graduated from Oxford University (BA, MA, chemistry) and the University of Southampton (PhD, chemistry & spectroscopy) in the UK.  He moved to the US, initially for a postdoctoral fellowship, and then joined Digilab (Bio-Rad) working on laboratory FT-IR.  He held numerous positions at Digilab over the years, but concentrated on product and applications development, including step-scan FT-IR applications and spectroscopic imaging using two-dimensional focalplane array detectors.  About fifteen years ago he changed course to concentrate on miniature, portable and handheld spectroscopic instruments, working at Axsun Technologies (tunable near-infrared lasers), Thermo Fisher Scientific (XRF, Raman, FT-IR, near-infrared), and finally PerkinElmer (portable GC-MS).  In 2017 he left the corporate world to set up his own consulting company, helping to commercialize new miniature spectroscopic technologies.  He is a Fellow of the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, an SPIE Senior Member (2017), and received the Williams-Wright Award for industrial spectroscopy in 2012.

Dr. Pauline Leary is a Technical Solutions Engineer for Smiths Detection, Inc.  In her role at Smiths, she works with military, emergency-response, transportation and critical-infrastructure customers to help them develop solutions to the problems they are experiencing with detecting, identifying and quantifying dangerous substances and other contraband in the field.  Prior to joining Smiths in 2005, Pauline worked as scientist performing physical testing within the R&D division of Purdue Pharma, LP.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marist College, a Master of Science degree from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.