Star Wars technology has been urned to peaceful endeavors by E. Neil Lewis of the NIH. Coupling multi-channel IR focal plane rray detectors, originally developed for military and surveillance applications, with IR microscopy, a new dimension has been added to chemical analyses. This instrument, marketed by Bio-Rad under the name StingRay, provides high fidelity chemically specific images, literally making chemical gradients visible to the eye.

Infrared spectroscopic image taken with Bio-Rad's Stingray of a 10 micron section of an entire mouse brain.
The StingRay generates chemical images based on a substance's intrinsic molecular vibrations, without the need for invasive dyes or tags or extensive sample preparation. With the coupling of FTIR infrared imaging and multivariate data processing, tens of thousands of infrared spectra are collected in only several minutes and displayed as images with tens of thousands of pixels. "This technology will revolutionize IR spectroscopy," says Dr. Lewis, "doing for...

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