Handheld Spectrometer for Sample Triage

Alexander Scheeline
SpectroClick Inc., Illinois, United States

Keywords: Water quality analysis, analytical chemistry, spectrometry, chemical measurement

Whether screening for drinkability, chemical or biological contamination, minerals, or suitability for disposal, measurement of water composition is a common need for fixed base or mobile operations. Laboratory instruments are oversized for field use; prior portable instruments have required extensive advanced training because they attempt to bring the lab to the field rather than solve a field-based measurement problem. We describe a handheld instrument, connected to a computer, tablet, or cell phone via USB, that collects visible spectra using a 5 megapixel camera. The observed SpectroBurst™ allows real time calibration. A single device can perform absorbance or reflectance; fluorescence is under development. Measurements are initiated by a QR code on a reactant packet shown to the computer’s camera, ensuring that the determination desired, the reactants on hand, and the appropriate measurement sequence match. The user is prompted, step by step, to carry out a determination without needing to know those steps in advance. Output is an action recommendation (whether water is drinkable, is there evidence of explosives), not a number. Output may be visual or auditory. Once the user has web access, data are archived to an encrypted, password-protected HDF archive.