Thorlabs acquires Raman spectroscopy company

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Thorlabs has acquired Coda Devices, a manufacturer of laboratory and portable Raman spectrometers used for non-destructive chemical analysis. Based out of Menlo Park, California with an R&D centre and production in Moscow, Russia, the Coda team will be integrated into Thorlabs’ spectroscopy technology group in Munich, Germany.

Coda Device’s Raman spectrometers employ patented coded-aperture technology, which samples over 1,000 optical channels simultaneously to achieve more than 30 times the light throughput of analogous diffraction slit spectrometers. This overcomes the light collection and overall sensitivity limitations of a small entrance aperture. By combining this high throughput aperture with extensive signal processing algorithms, the Coda Devices suppress unwanted fluorescence signals that would otherwise mask the detection of weak Raman signatures and achieve five times higher signal-to-noise ratios than standard diffraction-slit-based spectrometers. 

With a 1.5 mm2 analysis area, which is 10,000 times larger than traditionally available laser spots, a lower energy light source can be deployed, allowing for non-destructive analysis of heat-sensitive samples. The larger area also makes it possible to accurately identify a wider range of samples, including large-grain and non-homogeneous mixtures.

Coda’s technology can identify the relative concentrations of up to four substances (powders, liquids, gels, or solids) out of a current library of 3,600 known signatures (prescription and illegal substances, polymers, plastics, minerals, and organic/inorganic compounds) in less than 15 seconds. The analysis can be performed through any transparent material, thereby eliminating the need to break into the initial packaging, which has the benefit of preventing contact with potentially deadly substances and allows the technology to be employed for inline quality control. 

'We are very excited to welcome the Coda team to Thorlabs and to gain their Raman Spectroscopy expertise,' said Verena Mackowiak, managing product Engineer of Thorlabs’ spectroscopy technology team. 'In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to working together to expand the market reach of the coded-aperture Raman Spectroscopy technique.' 

Anatoly Konukhov, CEO of Coda Devices, added: 'We are highly passionate about this deal. Thorlabs’ proficiency in the field of optics will boost and drastically enhance the technology developed by the Coda team, increase areas of application, and subsequently expand the market reach of our products. I would also like to thank our investor, Phystech Ventures, for their support.'

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