FTIR spectrometer offers exceptional price/performance ratio

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FTIR spectrometer offers exceptional price/performance ratioABB Automation Technologies is launching the MB3000 FTIR spectrometer and Horizon MBTM software. The configuration of ABB's MB3000 emphasises simplicity at low cost, while maintaining versatility.

Two versions of the general-purpose laboratory FTIR are available: the MB3000 is the Mid-IR version and the MB3600 is the Near-IR version. Combined with the new Horizon MBTM software, the MB3000 and MB3600 allow the acquisition, processing and analysis of samples as well as results management.

The Horizon MBTM software handles several spectral formats in native form and has a large number of import and export options, so data conversion is not a problem. Sampling accessories designed for performance, reliability and ergonomics are offered for both Mid-IR and Near-IR analysis. Furthermore, the MB3000 has been designed to be extremely compact for use in laboratories where space is at a premium.

Wide range of applications

ABB's MB3000 is the culmination of over 30 years experience in the use of FTIR (Fourier Transform Infra Red) for numerous applications including: research in molecular structure at very high resolution; analysis of chemical composition both in the laboratory and directly in process streams; and environmental monitoring on the ground, airborne and even in space.

The MB3000 is the result of an intensive development programme involving a team of optical, mechanical, electronic and software engineers, application scientists, and experts in manufacturing methods using the most up-to-date technologies. At all times, the aim was to achieve a high performance/cost ratio.

ABB's engineers are also experienced in the design and fabrication of satellite-based FTIR sensors, which must operate in orbit for more than ten years with a very low probability of failure. The MB3000 incorporates many novel ideas provided by Dr Henry Buijs, co-founder of the company Bomem Inc and an expert renowned for his applied research in spectroscopy. A number of these ideas are subject to patent coverage.

Ease of use

Unlike some other alternatives, no application scientist is required to run the MB3000 and Horizon MBTM software. Transition to this highly advanced and efficient technology is said to be logical, easy and smooth. It permits easy intuitive operation by users with minimal training, as well as sophisticated research measurements by experienced spectroscopists.

The MB3000 and MB3600 are provided with a spacious open-architecture sample compartment pioneered by ABB Bomem. The sample compartment is compatible with most existing sampling accessories and can also handle large unwieldy custom sampling setups.

Minimisation of scheduled maintenance and superior reliability at low cost were strong design goals. For this, a solid-state laser with an estimated life of over 20 years has replaced the He-Ne laser. Furthermore, the IR source has been provided with a proprietary drive circuit that extends the source half-life to an estimated ten years. The scanning mechanism of the MB3000 uses the proven flex-pivot approach, which is not subject to any wear and has proven to be very robust.

High signal-to-noise ratio

ABB's MB3000 is highly modular in design so that repair of any defective module is quick and easy. All sub-assemblies are installed without any need for alignment. An emphasis on reliability and low maintenance provide for what ABB claims is the lowest cost of ownership in the industry. The MB3000 stands out for its spectral stability, accuracy and sensitivity; each scan provides a high signal-to-noise ratio. But thanks to its highly repeatable scanning, signal averaging increases the signal-to-noise ratio even for periods as long as several hours, enabling the instrument to reach remarkably high sensitivity.

Spectral stability is partly achieved with the patented double-pivot interferometer design that is highly robust and permanently aligned during assembly at the factory. Spectral stability is achieved through a simple beam splitter design that provides a constant flat optical efficiency with minimal polarisation effects over the entire infrared range. The beam splitter and the other optical components are non-hygroscopic. This means that they cannot be damaged by excess moisture - as can be the case for KBr beam splitters.

By design, each MB3000 provides exactly the same absorbance or transmittance spectrum to within a small tolerance for a given stable sample. It means that quality assurance analysis in multiple labs of the same material will provide the same results. The wavelength scale and the instrument line shape function are also highly reproducible from unit to unit.

ABB says the MB3000 offers an excellent price/performance ratio. The company believes that the instrument's combination of signal-to-noise ratio, stability, reproducibility, robustness and reliability make it the best product in its class.

26 June 2007

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