Next Generation Miniature Spectrometer from Ocean Optics

Flame builds on 20 years of expertise from the producers of the first miniature spectrometer
Dunedin, Florida, USA (February 10, 2015) – Ocean Optics has launched a spectrometer line that combines decades of miniature spectrometer design expertise with industry-leading manufacturing techniques. The Flame spectrometer delivers high thermal stability and low unit to unit variation without compromising the flexibility and configurability that are the hallmark of modular, miniature spectrometers. Features such as interchangeable slits, indicator LEDs and simpler device connectors provide great flexibility for a wide range of UV-Vis applications including OEM integration and lab, industrial and field use.

Ocean Optics Flame

Ocean Optics Flame spectrometer line combines decades of miniature spectrometer design expertise with industry-leading manufacturing techniques.

The Flame is fully configurable across the 190-1100 nm wavelength range for use in absorbance, transmission, reflectance, irradiance and color applications. Spectrometers come preconfigured or custom configured, with interchangeable slits that enable users to adjust resolution and throughput on demand. For example, the user can reconfigure the same spectrometer from high resolution for absorbance to high throughput for fluorescence in seconds. To further increase measurement power, the Flame works seamlessly with Ocean Optics’ range of light sources, optical fibers, sampling accessories and software.

Optical bench improvements and high precision alignment methods elevate Flame performance for demanding applications in industrial and field environments. The Flame has thermal stability of 0.05 nm/°C from 200-850 nm and highly consistent unit-to-unit performance that meets the needs of OEMs and other high-volume customers. Its small footprint (89 x 63 x 34 mm) and low weight (265 g) make Flame ideal for OEM integration.

Flame operation is plug and play. A choice of USB or RS-232 communications, supported by drivers and software, make it easy to integrate into almost any system. Indicator LEDs show continuous power and data transfer status.

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Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy Substrates from Ocean Optics

Gold nanoparticle SERS substrates amplify Raman effects
Dunedin, Florida, USA (September 26, 2014) – Ocean Optics has introduced a new substrate for Raman spectroscopy applications. Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) substrates are highly sensitive, stable and reliable, delivering precise trace-level Raman spectroscopy measurement in applications ranging from chemical and explosive agent detection, to authentication, contaminant screening and quality control in production environments and the laboratory.

SERS substrates

Ocean Optics’ new gold nanoparticle SERS substrates amplify Raman effects.

Using precisely controlled gold nanoparticles, Ocean Optics SERS substrates amplify very weak Raman signals by many orders of magnitude. The result is fast, repeatable SERS measurements for the identification and quantification of SERS-active analytes. Detection at the parts per billion and even parts per trillion level are possible.

Ocean Optics’ SERS substrate manufacturing method results in affordable mass production with high repeatability and customization options. Standard substrates are microscope slide format with a 5 mm diameter active area. Ocean Optics uses optical-grade borosilicate glass and high-performance silicone-based adhesive for compatibility with a wide range of solvents. Customized designs are available on demand with choice of form factor such as swabs and coatings, as well as the ability to impart specificity to particular analytes.

SERS substrates work reliably with the complete range of Ocean Optics Raman instruments, including the IDRaman mini handheld Raman spectrometer.

Ocean Optics is giving away free 3-packs of SERS substrates, while supplies last*. Samples can be requested at A limited number of samples will also be available at Ocean Optics’ booth, 46, at SciX (September 29 – October 1; Reno-Tahoe, Nev.).

*  promotion ends 10/03/2014

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Ocean Optics Names World Cup of Applications Contest Winners

Dunedin, Florida, USA (September 17, 2014) – After collecting entries from around the globe, Ocean Optics has named two winners of its World Cup of Applications contest. Andreas Burkart won for The Faint Red Glow of Photosynthesis, and a group effort submitted by Bruce Robertson won for Polarized Light Pollution: A New Kind of Ecological Photopollution. Contest winners will be enjoying a trip for four to Ocean Optics’ Florida headquarters this fall for the opening of its new application lab.

In the spirit of global teamwork exemplified by the summer FIFA World Cup™, Ocean Optics invited customers to send in applications notes featuring research using its spectrometers. Over 40 entries were received, with all entries awarded a 5% voucher on a future purchase.  From a field of tough competitors, Burkart and Robertson emerged as the grand prize winners.

Burkart’s winning entry investigated a new avenue for plant study–using spectroscopy to measure the faint red chlorophyll fluorescence present during photosynthesis. In order to apply this method in remote field locations, Burkart paired inexpensive open source microcontrollers with Ocean Optics spectrometers, creating a fully solar driven research instrument.

Ocean Optics World Cup

Photo Courtesy of Andreas Burkart

Robertson submitted the work of a team that also included Gábor Horváth, György Kriska, and Péter Malik. The team studied the ecological impact of the interaction (polarization) of light with human made objects such buildings, cars, roads and other outdoor materials. The team used Ocean Optics spectrometers to characterize different manmade light sources and their effects when shined on various objects.

The winning application notes, along with a number of excellent additional submissions, can be found at Ocean Optics also maintains a comprehensive Applications knowledge base at

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Ocean Optics Launches New Website offers unique interactive tools and educational resources
Dunedin, Florida, USA (August 26, 2014) – Ocean Optics has launched a redesigned website at The all new site design helps users more easily navigate through spectroscopy product and educational information with an interactive product selector, spectrometer range and resolution calculator, applications section, measurement techniques section, and a new search function that groups results by type. is all new with spectroscopy tools and educational resources.


The biggest change to the site is the addition of two spectroscopy selection tools unique to Ocean Optics. On the Interactive Product Search users enter wavelength, measurement technique, and features criteria for a list of specific modular spectrometers to fit their application. The tool then allows side by side comparison of up to four products on key parameters including optical resolution, dynamic range and price. The Range and Resolution Calculator determines anticipated spectrometer performance (spectral range and resolution) depending on selection of slit size and grating type. The resulting graph can be printed or captured in multiple image formats for reference and sharing.

The other key parts of the site focus on knowledge and education. As the scope for spectroscopy rapidly expands, new users are investigating how it can be applied. The Applications section provides a catalog of Application Notes, organized by fields of study, which includes sample setups, spectra, images and related product information. The Measurement Techniques section explains key spectroscopy methods such as absorbance and fluorescence. It also provides tips and tricks related to Ocean Optics spectrometers, example setups and answers to frequently asked questions. Finally, the OEM/Custom section offers comprehensive information on working with Ocean Optics’ dedicated OEM engineering team to incorporate spectroscopy into a range of instruments.

The site’s new search function groups results by type so that users can jump quickly to what they’re looking for-whether it’s product information, application notes, measurement techniques or FAQs. Other key features are a live chat function for immediate customer support and the ability to request quotes and submit orders.

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New Development Kit for Spectral Sensing Applications from Ocean Optics

STS spectrometer, Raspberry Pi microcomputer and flexible software for out-of-the-box use
Dunedin, Florida, USA (July 29, 2014) – Ocean Optics has introduced a new set of spectral sensing tools for developers and others who want to deploy spectroscopy in new applications. The STS Developers Kit brings together its powerful STS spectrometer, a Raspberry Pi microcomputer, customizable software, and wireless capabilities in single package for integrating spectral sensing quickly and easily. Right out of the box, the kit can be quickly configured for a variety of scientific, process monitoring and environmental applications. Uses include developing handheld devices for light metrology or color measurement, creating cloud connected measurement clusters, and even mounting on UAVs for remote monitoring.

STS Development Kit

STS Development Kit combines spectrometer, Raspberry Pi microcomputer and flexible software for application flexibility and portability.

The STS Developer Kit takes advantage of the Raspberry Pi’s flexibility and adaptability to enable new uses for spectroscopy. Once connected to a WiFi network, the spectrometer can be controlled through phone, tablet, or computer web browser. The WiFi range is up to 150 m, and all data is securely stored to the onboard SD card. While it comes pre-loaded with this simple interface and is ready to use out of the box, the development platform makes it fast and easy to customize the kit to specific projects.

The web scripting API enables quick development of custom scripts and applications, allowing the STS and Raspberry Pi to perform even more complex tasks. Ocean Optics SeaBreeze drivers communicate directly to the spectrometer via USB interface. A Daemon Service software enables more autonomous functionality as well as coordination with other hardware such as switches or even controlling sampling accessories.

STS spectrometer, UAV

Ocean Optics STS spectrometer collects plant data from an unmanned aerial vehicle.

The core of the kit is Ocean Optics’ STS microspectrometer. At less than 42 mm square and 24 mm high, the STS delivers maximum power in a small footprint. Its optical design and advanced CMOS detector elevate the STS to performance levels comparable to larger and more expensive spectrometers. Excellent linearity, high dynamic range, and wavelength accuracy ensure reproducible and repeatable results. In addition, high thermal stability performance and low baseline drift ensure that data stays accurate, even under changing environmental conditions. The STS Developer Kit offers the choice of three STS models: STS-UV (190-650 nm), STS-Vis (350-800 nm) and STS-NIR (650-1100 nm).

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Ocean Optics Launches Maya LSL Spectrometer

New spectrometer delivers exceptional stray light performance with high sensitivity
Dunedin, Florida, USA (March 3, 2014) – Now available from Ocean Optics is the Maya LSL spectrometer, a combination of a back-thinned CCD array detector and low stray light optical design resulting in high-sensitivity, high-throughput performance for applications ranging from chemical catalysis to Raman analysis. With rapid response and excellent accuracy, the Maya LSL is ideal for demanding applications in the life sciences and process monitoring industries, especially for production applications where speed and precision can save time, improve efficiency and reduce costs.

Maya LSL

The Maya LSL spectrometer delivers exceptional stray light performance with high sensitivity.

In production applications such as color measurements for quality control, Maya LSL’s combination of speed, sensitivity and throughput help to reduce measurement errors and ensure accuracy. LED sorting, plasma monitoring and quality control all benefit from the superior color accuracy of the Maya LSL. Maya LSL’s capacity to make measurements in milliseconds is particularly useful for demanding production environments.

The Maya LSL takes advantage of two modular spectroscopy technologies. First, Maya LSL’s f/3 optical design includes a toroidal grating that corrects optical aberrations and dramatically improves stray light performance, extending the spectrometer’s measurement range up to 3.0 absorption units – a 30 percent advantage compared with competitive designs. With very low stray light performance of 0.015 percent at 400 nm, Maya LSL offers great value to users making quantitative measurements, particularly in QA/QC and routine laboratory environments.

Second, the Maya LSL has a back-thinned CCD detector that increases the sensitivity of the spectrometer and allows for faster, full-spectrum measurements. This is a significant advantage for monitoring rapid chemical reactions such as catalysis, combustion and protein folding.

The Maya LSL optimizes the unavoidable trade-offs among measurement time, dynamic range and signal-to-noise considerations, for process monitoring measurements. High thermal stability and an array of triggering and data communication options make the Maya LSL ideal for the process environment. Applications such as fluorescence and Raman that routinely monitor very low light levels will benefit from the sensitivity of the Maya LSL.

The Maya LSL interfaces to a computer via its USB port and couples to Ocean Optics accessories for convenient experiment setups. The spectrometer is available with a variety of slits, filters and other optical bench accessories for optimizing configurations.

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Ocean Optics Launches DH-mini Light Source

New light source delivers high intensity broadband light in a compact package
Dunedin, Florida, USA (March 3, 2014) – Now available from Ocean Optics is the DH-mini light source. This compact, high-intensity source for spectroscopy combines deuterium and tungsten halogen sources in a single optical path, producing stable output across the UV-VIS-NIR from 200-2500 nm. The versatility of the DH-mini is ideal for demanding applications in the quality control and life science industries, especially fiber probe-based measurements where light throughput is a challenge, and absorbance measurements of high optical density solutions.


The DH-mini high-intensity source for spectroscopy combines deuterium and tungsten halogen sources in a single optical path.

As one of the pioneers of combination UV-VIS-NIR sources for spectroscopy, Ocean Optics has refined the new DH-mini, making it significantly more powerful, stable and compact than previous generations of comparable light sources. The DH-mini has nearly 3.5x greater output than earlier combination deuterium-tungsten halogen sources, expanding its usefulness to include absorbance measurements over a wide wavelength range and facilitating the measurement of multiple different samples with a single light source.

In addition to producing high-intensity output, the DH-mini operates with great stability (0.2% peak to peak) and minimal drift (0.1%/hour after stabilization). This mitigates the need to disturb experiments for frequent reference-taking and helps to ensure that results are reliable. Galvanically isolated electronics help to eliminate electronic cross-talk that can interfere with operation.

The DH-mini’s small footprint – 75 mm x 82 mm x 175 mm (3.0” x 3.25” x 6.875”) and 0.5 kg (1.1 lb.) — helps to free up laboratory bench space and makes it easily adaptable for OEM devices. The DH-mini has great operational flexibility, allowing users to optimize configurations without having to switch among multiple sources or change sampling accessories. For example, each source bulb can be operated independently, with variable voltage controls for adjusting deuterium and tungsten halogen intensity. The built-in shutter allows users to make reference and dark measurements without disturbing the stability and thermal equilibrium of the lamp, a problem when a source is turned off or on. This saves time and increases the accuracy and precision of the measurement.

Users can operate the DH-mini bulbs and shutter manually via controls on the front panel or remotely via 15-pin TTL connection. Remote control via TTL connection simplifies integration and operation of the light source a when external triggering and other functions are required.

The DH-mini complements Ocean Optics’ range of modular spectroscopy solutions for a wide range of applications. By configuring the DH-mini with a wide-range spectrometer and appropriate accessories, users can create a multifunction spectroscopy system for UV, VIS or NIR measurements or for measurements where broad-range response is necessary.

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Ocean Optics Names Winner of 2014 Young Investigator Award

Cash prize and grant awarded during SPIE BiOS/Photonics West 2014 conference
Dunedin, Fla. (February 14, 2014) – Ocean Optics, the industry leader in modular spectroscopy applications and products, recently named Gabriel Orsinger of the University of Arizona as winner of the 2014 Ocean Optics Young Investigator Award.

Ocean Optics

Pictured (from left to right) at the February 4, 2014 presentation of the 2014 Ocean Optics Young Investigator Award are David Creasey, vice president of sales and marketing for Ocean Optics; Gabriel Orsinger of the University of Arizona, recipient of the award; and co-chairs of the Colloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications conference Wolfgang Parak of Philipps-Universität Marburg (Marburg, German) and Marek Osinski of the University of New Mexico. Photo courtesy of SPIE.

The Young Investigator Award is presented to a researcher who is a graduate student or has completed their graduate work in the last five years and is the primary author of the best juried paper submitted as part of the “Colloidal Quantum Dots for Biomedical Applications IX” conference at the 2014 BiOS/Photonics West Symposium. The honor includes a $1,000 investigator reward and a company grant to the investigator’s advisor.

Orsinger was honored for his work with advisor Dr. Marek Romanowski, Research Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, as presented in the paper “Intracellular light-induced release of signaling molecules from gold-coated liposomes.” Their work describes the use of gold-coated liposomes as a tool for studying cellular behavior as it relates to cancer and other diseases.

Ocean Optics has sponsored the Young Investigator Award since 2005 and has long supported young scientists from around the world through sponsorships, grant programs and partnership.

“We believe these passionate innovators can harness the power of spectroscopy to protect and improve the quality of life for people worldwide,” said David Creasey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Ocean Optics. “Ocean Optics embraces a tradition of working closely with researchers across many disciplines, and is inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of the men and women just starting their careers.”

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Ocean Optics Launches QE Pro Spectrometer

Spectrometer delivers market-best sensitivity and performance
Dunedin, Florida, USA (February 3, 2014) – The QE Pro from Ocean Optics is a high-sensitivity, back-thinned CCD array spectrometer with outstanding quantum efficiency, wide dynamic range and extremely low noise operation for applications with low light levels and where wide concentration ranges are measured.


The QE Pro from Ocean Optics is a high-sensitivity, back-thinned CCD array spectrometer.

The QE Pro‘s optical design maximizes performance for a range of application needs. With its 18-bit A/D, QE Pro has dynamic range performance that makes it the highest sensitivity miniature spectrometer available today. This is significant for users monitoring emission spectroscopy, especially fluorescence and Raman, where signals may be weak and minimum detectable sample limits are often challenging. In addition, for both absorption and reflectance in quality control applications, QE Pro provides lower limits of detection and enables measurements over a wider concentration range.

For kinetics researchers and scientists requiring fast, full spectrum acquisitions, the QE Pro provides onboard buffering capability. The 15,000 spectra onboard buffer maintains data integrity by buffering time-stamped spectra for USB communications. Buffering enables full-spectrum kinetics measurements, such as those used in chemical and enzyme kinetics or protein folding to be performed every 8 milliseconds — or 125 measurements per second.

Thermoelectric control of the detector improves the stability of the detector for lengthy measurements, where thermal noise convolutes the signal. TEC cooling dramatically reduces thermal noise and holds QE Pro’s stability to 4 dark counts over a 60 °C ambient temperature range. This stability allows the spectrometer to be used for demanding online and at-line quality control measurements and environments susceptible to temperature changes.

QE Pro spectrometers are also available with replaceable, precision laser-cut slit and aperture assemblies for SMA 905 and FC connectors. Replaceable slits give users more freedom in spectrometer design and the ability to switch among applications such as fluorescence and absorbance as easily as replacing a few screws. The slits are available with SMA 905 or FC connectors and are available separately or as part of a kit comprising one each of 5 µm, 10 µm, 25 µm, 50 µm, 100 µm and 200 µm width slits and one SMA bulkhead with no slit installed.

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Raster Orbital Scanning Technology from Ocean Optics Recognised at TASIA* Awards

The Raster Orbital Scanning (ROS) feature of the IDRaman family of products from Ocean Optics has been recognised as one of 2013’s 15 best innovation technologies by The Analytical Scientist magazine, an industry publication. ROS is a novel Raman spectroscopy sampling technique that helps to derive more accurate and comprehensive measurement results. The IDRaman mini handheld Raman spectrometer and the IDRaman reader integrated Raman spectrometer both feature ROS.


ROS increases the sensitivity of Raman measurements up to 10 fold by rastering a tightly focused laser beam over a larger area, encountering more Raman-active compounds. The reduction of the background by ROS provides a more accurate result and is especially ideal for applications like surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). Rastering a tightly focused beam allows the resolution of measurement to be mainlined, ensuring accuracy for applications that rely on library matching.

ROS offers the advantage of allowing higher laser powers to be used for measurement without damage to the sample. This supports the development of low-cost Raman detection in mainstream applications such as anti-counterfeit and medical diagnostics. By scanning a larger area with a the laser beam, The Analytical Scientist points out that conventional paper could be used as a SERS substrate for a point-of-care diagnostic tests, as opposed to pristine surfaces.

“This unique sampling technique helps make Raman measurements more accurate and reliable, enabling our customers to do more,” said Richard Pollard, President of Ocean Optics. “We are excited to hear that Raster Orbital Scanning has received this award.”

*The Analytical Scientist Innovation Awards

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