NIR spectrophotometers: are they all the same?

Spettrofotometri NIR sono tutti uguali


Choosing a spectrophotometer can often be more difficult than expected. The difficulty lies in the fact that NIR spectrophotometers are not all the same and it is essential to choose the most suitable one for the intended use.

As with any known technology, there are different solutions that sometimes need to be adapted to specific uses. Laboratory instruments, for example, would in no way be applicable in the field or in the process, but this does not mean that they perform better or worse than others.
Within NIR technology, there are very different instruments and they cannot all be considered the same, both in terms of performance and use. 

The trend in recent years to offer low-cost products on the market, sometimes so compact as to be even ‘pocket-sized’ and accessible even to a ‘consumer’ audience, has on the one hand contributed to the expansion of technology itself but on the other has introduced into the market technologies whose expectations can certainly not be compared to ‘high-end’ instruments. To be truly high-end it is important that the instruments have specific characteristics: informing users is therefore essential and successful.

Process spectrophotometer: features

As mentioned, a high-end process spectrophotometer must have specific features. What should a process instrument look like? In general, a process instrument should have:

  • A measurement perspective that can cover a wide area as the product to be analysed is generally in a raw form and not homogeneous as in the laboratory.
  • A product radiation system (the lighting geometry) that provides a homogeneous interaction with the measured product.
  • An active sensor temperature control and conditioning system to ensure measurement stability and repeatability.
  • The possibility of performing analysis with the product in fast motion (diode array technology) instead of statically, as the sampling effect would be decisive in obtaining a correct result.

How much can a portable or process NIR spectrophotometer cost?

There is no single answer to this question. Generally the best performing systems are also the ones that have a higher purchase price. The correct value to be assigned to the purchase of a process NIR system depends on your needs and the added value you derive from the information generated by the system. 

Polispec’s professional spectrophotometers reflect and comply with the characteristics required to consider them high-end products. They have no limits in their applications because they are designed to measure all organic matrices and are prepared for immediate and multi-parameter analysis.