Science and Creativity Come Together with Spectroscopy and Pyrotechnics

Ocean Optics’ spectrometer assures special effects color purity and safety for Le Maitre
Dunedin, Florida, USA (July 31, 2015) – Spectrometers from Ocean Optics are being used by Le Maitre Ltd (Surrey, England) to ensure the quality and safety of its close proximity pyrotechnics. Ocean Optics spectrometers measure plasma emission and emissive color of effects used in theater productions, concerts, and sporting events. The measurements help Le Maitre ensure these explosive displays are consistently amazing, and most important, safe.

Pyrotechnic spectrometer

Le Maitre Pyrotechnics Developer Hamish Cavaye, Ph.D., runs pyrotechnic tests with an Ocean Optics spectrometer.

Le Maitre Pyrotechnics Developer Hamish Cavaye, Ph.D., runs live product tests in a silo in rural England. His challenge is to objectively verify that effects are producing the desired colors. As was recently proven with the pop culture “What color is the dress?” phenomenon, the human eye is easily fooled. Using a spectrometer to verify color purity, Cavaye looks for particular emission bands indicative of a specific chemical composition.

Measuring the emissive color of pyrotechnics with a spectrometer also has the ability to signal safety issues. If the spectra identify elements that are not expected, it may indicate contamination. Verifying consistency not only ensures a pleasing color for the audience but helps assure the safety of patrons and performers.

Ocean Optics OceanView

Spectra of a live effect displayed in real-time.

Measurement speed is also important in testing pyrotechnics, as some effects can last less than a second. With integration times on some Ocean Optics spectrometers as low as 1 ms, Cavaye can easily capture multiple spectra for each effect. Along with needing the precision and accuracy typically required of spectrometer measurements, Le Maitre had the additional challenge of requiring an instrument that was portable and durable. Compact miniature spectrometers can easily be brought to the testing silo and are rugged enough to withstand close proximity to live effects as they are firing.

Ocean Optics recently visited Le Maitre to see its spectrometers and Le Maitre’s effects in action. Watch the explosive video here:

This isn’t the first time Ocean Optics’ spectrometers have felt the heat. They’ve also been used for studying muzzle flashes from rifles, rocket plume emissions, and applications involving flame analysis of metals and other materials.

About Le Maitre
Le Maitre Pyrotechnics and Special Effects has been designing and manufacturing stage pyrotechnics and fog, smoke and haze machines since 1977. Its pyrotechnics have been used globally in a very wide range of applications, including big name concert tours and national sporting events. The company designs and manufactures a range of professional stage effects products, as well as operating a European event services division. It is headquartered in Surrey, England, with additional facilities in Peterborough, England, and Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Ocean Optics Appoints Service and Operations Manager of its EMEA Office

Zimon Norlin to lead manufacturing, service and logistics in Europe, Middle East, Africa
Dunedin, Florida, USA (July 30, 2015) – Ocean Optics has increased support for its expanding EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) business with the appointment of Zimon Norlin to the position of EMEA Service and Operations Manager. Norlin will be charged with growing regional access to Ocean Optics’ spectroscopy products and applications knowledge.

Ocean Optics EMEA

Zimon Norlin, Ocean Optics EMEA Service and Operations Manager

As EMEA Service and Operations Manager, Norlin will lead manufacturing, service and logistics at Ocean Optics’ regional sales office, located in Ostfildern, Germany. His mission is to create a customer-focused support facility, giving EMEA users of Ocean Optics spectral sensing equipment local access to the company’s vast applications and engineering expertise.

“Zimon’s appointment underscores our commitment to an outstanding customer experience,” said Richard Pollard, Ocean Optics President. “By strengthening our customer service and applications support in Europe, customers will have increased opportunities to collaborate and innovate with Ocean Optics”

Norlin comes to Ocean Optics from ulrich medical (Ulm, Germany) where he provided technical service for the company’s line of surgical and hospital devices. Prior to that, he held service and support positions with Unfors RaySafe (now Fluke Biomedical; Ulm, Germany) and RTI Electronics (Gothenburg, Sweden). A native of Sweden, Norlin is also fluent in German and English.

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Dynamic Sampling Accessories Provide Measurement Consistency

Ocean Optics spectroscopy tools ideally suited to inhomogeneous samples
Ocean Optics has introduced a line of spectroscopy accessories that makes dynamic sampling measurements simple and reliable for both solid and liquid samples. Dynamic sampling is a technique where rotational or linear motion is used to measure an “average” signal across the sample, removing localized variance from results and improving measurements of inhomogeneous and irregular samples such as grains, feed and soil.

Ocean Optics Dynamic Sampling

Ocean Optics spectroscopy accessories make dynamic sampling measurements simple and reliable for both solid and liquid samples.

Ocean Optics offers four dynamic sampling accessories – a diffuse reflectance probe, rotating sampling cup, multiplexer and flow cell – that fit seamlessly with existing UV-Vis and NIR spectrometers and accessories, resulting in a system optimized for the user’s application. Dynamic sampling accessories are ideal for users who take routine measurements of the same sample types or need to measure a large number of different samples frequently.

The Diffuse Reflectance Probe (DR Probe) integrates a light source and collection optics into one unit to measure 45° diffuse reflectance. It is ideal for applications such as color analysis, material identification and quality monitoring of foods. The DR Probe has rugged, all-metal construction with 40 mm focal length and an integrated, 10,000-hour bulb for extended time between servicing.

Also available for diffuse reflectance measurements is the DynaCup, a rotating device that presents samples to the DR Probe. The rotation allows the probe to scan the sample multiple times to collect a more consistent, representative spectrum of the sample. This method is important with inhomogeneous samples like grains, where variables such as shape, moisture and starch distribution within kernels can vary greatly.

To save sample measurement time and streamline sample processing, the multiplexer accessory is a mechanical actuator that distributes light through 10 customizable channels from a single light source. The multiplexer is useful for any kind of light transmission and optical fiber size. Two models offer a choice between fast positioning, or high repeatability and accuracy of performance. The multiplexer features SMA 905 connections and a USB port for communication and remote control.

For flow applications users can select the DynaFlux, an integrated transmission and absorbance flow cell. DynaFlux accepts standard transmission cells with pathlengths up to 10 mm (sold separately) and a temperature controlled sampling chamber. A programmable timer allows the flow cell pump to run for fixed times with options for continuous flow to analyze large volumes, or stop-flow mode to analyze static samples. DynaFlux is an all-in-one accessory for dynamic sampling of liquids, for both NIR and UV-Vis transmissive measurements.

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Ocean Optics Appoints Vice President Technology

Steven Frey to lead the development of new optical measurement technologies
Dunedin, Florida, USA (May 15, 2015) –Spectroscopy applications knowledge leader Ocean Optics has appointed Steven Frey to the position of Vice President of Technology.

Ocean Optics Frey

Ocean Optics Appoints Vice President Technology, Steven Frey

In his new role, Frey will drive the development of technologies for next generation applications of miniature spectroscopy. He will lead the company’s team of design and applications engineers in developing new products to meet global environmental, healthcare and resources challenges, promoting the power of spectroscopy to protect and improve the quality of life. He will also work with external partners in research to explore how new technologies can be developed into industrial solutions.

Frey joins Ocean Optics from FAZ Technology (Orlando, Fla.), where he was Senior Vice President of Product Development and Delivery. At FAZ, he directed a team focused on the development of unique sensing capabilities applying Fiber Bragg Gratings to spectroscopy, and other novel techniques.

Frey spent the early part of his career at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, where during his 27 year tenure he held multiple roles including Director, Applied Research and Laser Directed Energy, and Section Manager of Systems Engineering. He earned a Master of Science degree in Physics at Missouri University of Science and Technology (Rolla, Mo.) and a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from Bradley University (Peoria, Ill.).

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Ocean Optics Appoints Vice President Finance

Tony Keller joins Ocean Optics with board responsibility
Dunedin, Florida, USA (May 13, 2015) – Spectroscopy applications knowledge leader Ocean Optics has appointed Tony Keller to the position of Vice President of Finance.

Ocean Optics

Tony Keller, Ocean Optics Vice President of Finance

In his new role, Keller will be responsible for all aspects of finance, accounting, IT, and office administration at Ocean Optics. As a member of the executive board, he will also assist in the strategic management of the company’s business, including sales, operations, engineering, and finance.

Keller joins Ocean Optics from Enpro Industries Inc, a diversified manufacturing group producing proprietary engineered products used in critical applications. His most recent roles were with Enpro’s GGB Inc as Global Vice President of Strategy and Growth, based in Longview, Texas; and as Global Vice President of Finance and IT, based in Annecy, France. Prior to that, he was Vice President of Finance and IT with another Enpro Industries group company, Stemco. Keller is an Associated Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from University of Sheffield (Sheffield, United Kingdom).

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Tiny Low Cost Spectral Sensor from Ocean Optics Suited to OEM Integration and Benchtop Use

Spark’s solid state optical encoders bring spectroscopy to more applications than ever before
Dunedin, Florida, USA (March 5, 2015) – Ocean Optics’ new Spark spectral sensor uses optical technology advances to shrink instrument size, making it the smallest on the market to date. The Spark-VIS is the first offering in the Spark line of versatile spectral sensors, delivering high resolution measurements over the visible wavelength range of 380-700 nm. Available in both OEM and stand-alone configurations, the compact low-cost Spark-VIS is ideal for simple absorbance, fluorescence and emissive color measurements. It can be embedded to power next generation portable and Internet connected sensing devices for environmental, food, agriculture, biomedical and quality control applications; integrated directly on processing lines; or used as a benchtop instrument in teaching, research, medical and quality control labs.

Spark-VIS Spectral Sensor

Spark-VIS spectral sensor with Spark accessories.

The Spark-VIS is the first Ocean Optics spectral device to replace traditional diffraction gratings with a solid-state optical encoder. The resulting unit size and cost are comparable to that of a less robust RGB filter diode detector, but with the ability to take full spectral measurements. Compatible with Ocean Optics’ Raspberry Pi development kit, the Spark-VIS can be purchased off the shelf for applications engineering. The same spectral sensor can then be purchased economically in bulk for use as a component in portable and Internet-enabled devices.

The stand-alone Spark-VIS is easy to use, with plug and play USB connectivity. Its low cost makes it a good option for budget-conscious student labs. The even smaller OEM version runs off the host device’s driver and communication electronics, connected by ribbon cable. A line of Spark accessories, including clip-on cuvette holders, diffusers, and light sources, is compatible with both versions.

Spark has remarkable performance for a spectral sensor of its kind. Its aperture design optimizes light throughput. Robust optoelectronics ensure thermal stability over a -10° – 60° C operating range, for accurate analysis even in harsh environments. Unlike comparable devices, Spark delivers optical resolution of 4.5-9.0 nm (FWHM), making it viable for a wide range of applications.

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Ocean Optics Names Winner of 2015 Young Investigator Award

Cash prize and grant awarded during SPIE BiOS/Photonics West 2015 conference
Dunedin, Florida, USA (February 20, 2015) – Ocean Optics, the industry leader in modular spectroscopy applications and products, recently named Amelie Heuer-Jungemann from the University of Southampton, UK the winner of the 2015 Ocean Optics Young Investigator Award.

 Caption: Pictured (from left to right) at the February 9, 2015 presentation of the 2015 Ocean Optics Young Investigator Award are co-chairs of the Colloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications conference Dr. Xing-Jie Liang of the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Dr. Wolfgang Parak of Philipps-Universität Marburg, Dr. Marek Osinski of the University of New Mexico; award recipient Amelie Heuer-Jungemann of the University of South Hampton; and Dr. David Creasey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ocean Optics. Photo courtesy of SPIE.

Caption: Pictured (from left to right) at the February 9, 2015 presentation of the 2015 Ocean Optics Young Investigator Award are co-chairs of the Colloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications conference Dr. Xing-Jie Liang of the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Dr. Wolfgang Parak of Philipps-Universität Marburg, Dr. Marek Osinski of the University of New Mexico; award recipient Amelie Heuer-Jungemann of the University of South Hampton; and Dr. David Creasey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ocean Optics. 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 2015 BiOS/Photonics West Symposium. The honor includes a $1,000 investigator award and a $2,000 company grant to the lab where the work was performed.

Heuer-Jungemann was honored for the paper titled “Programming nanoparticle assembly,” coauthored with Antonios G. Kanaras (Univ. of Southampton, UK). Their work describes achievements in nanoparticle self-organization using various chemical tools. The award was presented by Dr. David Creasey, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Ocean Optics, and Colloidal Nanoparticles for Biomedical Applications conference chairs Dr. Wolfgang Parak (Philipps-Univ. Marburg), Dr. Marek Osinski (The Univ. of New Mexico), and Dr. Xing-Jie Liang (National Center for Nanoscience and Technology).

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. According to Osinski, this year saw a record 80 submissions for the award.

“The quantity and caliber of entries this year are indicative of the enthusiasm with which this next generation of researchers has embraced the power of spectroscopy to protect and improve the quality of life for people worldwide,” said Creasey. “At Ocean Optics, we know we’ve only scratched the surface of the applications where spectroscopy can be applied.”

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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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