Times have changed, though. Now portable, handheld FTIR spectrometers are available which can be used for true non-destructive analysis of large surfaces. An example of this type of instrument is A2 Technologies' Exoscan<sup>TM</sup>, which can conduct non-destructive surface measurements on a variety of samples. Though size and portability is important for these applications, equally important is overall spectroscopic performance since surface measurements can be very demanding. Exoscan has a performance envelope equivalent or better than analytical bench top systems. The recent addition of interchangeable sample interfaces and a docking station provides a system that can easily be used for experimental methods and procedures in the lab, then taken to the field for routine analysis when needed.
Exoscan FTIR instrument system can easily be used in the lab or taken to the field for routine analysis.
Infrared spectroscopy has long been recognized as a selective and sensitive technique for analysis and characterization of surfaces. From material identification to quantitative analysis, infrared analyses can establish if a surface is composed of the correct material, has the proper coating thickness, is free of contaminants, is properly cured, or has the correct properties for the next step in a manufacturing process. With these analytical abilities, infrared spectroscopy could easily be used for qualification of materials and surfaces on very large objects. However, with current bench top infrared spectrometers, it is often necessary to remove a sample from a large object and bring the small piece to the spectrometer located tn the laboratory. Thus, a potentially non-destructive methodology for large objects becomes a destructive one due to the necessity of small sample size coupled with the location of the FTIR system.