MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Aug. 19, 2010 — Block Engineering has announced the launch of a family of next-generation spectrometers based on widely tunable quantum cascade lasers (QCLs). The devices have both commercial and government applications. Three products have been introduced. LaserScan can analyze surface chemistries from a standoff distance of 6 in. to 2 ft; LaserScope is a high-performance infrared microscope; and LaserTune is a tunable QCL source used by researchers. According to the company, all three perform better than traditional Fourier transformed infrared (FTIR) spectrometers and are attracting interest among military users, life sciences researchers, pharmaceutical/chemical companies, plastic products manufacturers and environmental firms. The 200-kHz pulsed LaserScan identifies bulk materials and detects submicron- to 50-µm films based on their mid-infrared absorption characteristics. Applications include detection of explosive materials, traditional and nontraditional chemical agents, and toxic industrial chemicals. It also analyzes gases and liquids and can detect concentrations of <10 µg/cm2. It measures diffuse and highly absorbing materials and interfaces with FTIR and fiber-coupled accessories. Portable and rugged, it offers eye-safe operation. LaserTune is available in two versions: one with a 6- to 10-µm tuning range, and one with a 7- to 12-µm. Pulsed at 200 kHz, the laser source has a 5-mm output beam and can be tuned across the range in seconds. It can be tuned to a specific wavelength, across a range, or step-scanned. It offers fast linear sweeps, good tuning resolution, and narrow, stable linewidths. A fully integrated system, it offers full control and temperature stability and connects to a computer via a USB port. It is supplied with its own software and also can be operated remotely with laboratory automation software like LabView. Tuning range is 600 cm-1. LaserScope uses a high-brightness QCL point source, and its high spectral power density results in rapid scanning with a good signal-to-noise ratio and high quality data from miniature samples. It can analyze optically thick, highly diffusive and very small samples.