Infrared microscope launched

Shimadzu has introduced the new AIMsight infrared microscope. AIMsight builds on the high sensitivity of the well-known AIM-9000 to offer an improved operational experience through greater automation. AIMsight is intended for industrial applications in a variety of sectors, including drug manufacturing, materials science, electrical devices and electronics, machinery, transportation equipment, and for the environment.

An infrared microscope is used by connecting it to a Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectrophotometer to measure micro-regions using the reflection and transmission of infrared light that cannot be measured by FTIR units alone. The main applications of this are in the analysis and identification of micro-contaminants, such as those adhering to pharmaceutical pills, dirt on electronic circuit boards and microplastics.

In 2016, Shimadzu introduced the AIM-9000, an infrared microscope equipped with excellent sensitivity and an automatic contaminant analysis function. Since then, the demand for measurements using infrared microscopes has grown rapidly. At the same time – and partly as a result of this – the lack of analysts with experience in such measurements has also grown. The result is that there is now a very strong demand for highly sensitive instruments capable of quick, easy and trouble-free mea-surements of smaller targets. That’s where AIMsight comes in.

AIMsight meets that demand. It easily – and, importantly, automatically – measures micro-targets by irradiating them with infrared rays and by then investigating the reflectance and transmittance. It features easy determination of the measurement range via a wide-field camera as well as by automatic identification of measurement targets, automatic setting of measurement positions and automatic analysis via a contaminant analysis program.

Environmental concerns have also increased since 2016. To address those concerns, the AIMsight infrared microscope uses the new T2SL (type-II superlattice) detector. The T2SL does not use mercury or cadmium, which are restricted under the European Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive for electronic and electrical equipment. The T2SL detector, a so-called quantum infrared detector, has been gaining favourable attention as a high-sensitivity, next-generation infrared sensor.

Not only is AIMsight a more environmentally friendly instrument to own and use, it also is an invaluable tool in trace-contaminant analysis and quality control. Of particular note is the role it can play in researching microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that have such a negative impact on the environment. This is of interest in a variety of fields, ranging from chemistry and electrical and electronic devices to machinery and transportation equipment.

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