Mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets provide access to information at the touch of a button in near enough all locations around the globe. In addition they are becoming increasingly powerful computers capable of providing complex graphical interfaces and running calculations that have never been possible on these devices before.

For the scientist and the laboratory they offer an ability to release the scientist from the bench, enabling data to be collected from hostile environments. They also enable analytical instrumentation to be placed in situations where you may not particularly want an analytical chemist, such as a surgical theater.

Vibrational spectroscopic techniques, such as Raman and Infrared, are powerful techniques that are used to analyze a wide range of materials. A spectrum, which contains information on the chemical composition of the material being analyzed, can record materials rapidly with only simple sample preparation required. A recent study has developed a mobile app (Spectral Analyser) that allows users to link with cloud-based technology (currently Dropbox) to download spectra to mobile devices which manipulate, interrogate, and perform simple spectral processing techniques, such as polynomial background subtraction.

The use of mobile apps for data manipulation enables vibrational spectroscopy to reach its potential for in situ analysis. Through releasing the requirement for a desktop PC/laptop for data analysis, there could potentially be more scope for the application of vibrational spectroscopy in clinical and potentially dangerous environments.

This study reports the first development of this app, and as such, further versions are being developed to extend its capability and the analytical techniques serviced.

This story is reprinted from material from Matthew James Baker, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

This paper was originally published in Vibrational Spectroscopy 72, 37-43.

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