Chemical Imaging

Award-winning QCL Technology and Chemical Imaging Products

Since 2005, our mid-infrared (mid-IR), quantum cascade laser technology and chemical imaging products have been deployed in hundreds of academic and industrial labs worldwide where they support cutting-edge research and development. Using mid-IR vibrational spectroscopy is a well-known and widely used chemical identification and quantification technique. These instruments have enabled leading scientists to create new fields of research and make breakthroughs in award-winning spectroscopy applications ranging from climate science to chemical-threat detection to cancer diagnostics.

DRS Daylight Solutions is the leading provider of fully integrated, turnkey imaging, microscopy, and analyzer instruments based on QCL technology. We are also the largest manufacturer of ruggedized QCL-based systems for demanding OEM applications. Explore the selected applications below, and contact us to find out how we can assist you in creating a competitive advantage with your next application.

High-throughput, Label-free Bio Tissue Analysis

The Spero® laser-based infrared microscope is changing the fundamental workflow of tissue analysis. By measuring biochemical differences of the tissue directly, no stains or fluorescent probes are required. This simplifies the workflow while maintaining the purity of specimens for downstream proteomic and genomic analyses. Learn more about how infrared spectroscopy is advancing tissue analysis processes in digital pathology.

Industrial Process Monitoring

The Spero microscope is enabling real-time monitoring of pharmaceutical and industrial manufacturing processes. It permits quantitative, non-contact, and non-destructive mapping of polymers, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and excipients with high degrees of specificity in powder, tablet, and liquid forms.

Cancer Research

The Spero microscope is used extensively in cancer research for rapidly detecting and grading cancers in heterogeneous tissue. This microscope is well on its way to becoming a routine histological tool for digital pathology. With a 1000x speed advantage over conventional FTIR imaging capabilities and a 100,000x speed advantage over Raman microscopy, the Spero microscope is, for the first time, enabling large (> 1000) patient validation studies for a range of diseases and conditions, including colon, kidney, lung, prostate, breast, brain, and skin cancers. Beyond cancer research, the Spero microscope is also enabling high-contrast imaging of fibrosis in liver disease and the mapping of protein secondary structure markers associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Protein Analysis

The Spero microscope is excellent for quantitative measurements of proteins and their secondary structure in solid, powder, and liquid forms. It is, therefore, well suited for the entire drug development process, from early-phase discovery and down-selection of monoclonal antibodies and their co-excipients to late-phase quality control. The high-throughput capacity of the Spero microscope enables large designs of experiments early on to prevent costly failures at later stages of the therapeutic development cycle.


The Spero microscope allows imaging through tens of micrometers of aqueous solution. Combined with its novel video rate, discrete-frequency imaging capability, chemical reactions that exhibit little to no index contrast in visible or near-infrared range can now be observed in real time.

Chemical Identification

The Spero microscope can scan a wide spectral range corresponding to the infrared, vibrational resonances of molecular organic and inorganic compounds. This large range enables chemical identification of hundreds of thousands of molecules and their mixtures with micron-scale precision for a wide range of samples from polymers to tablets to biological tissues, cells, and fluids.

Spero® IR Microscope

Compared to FTIR spectrometers and microscopes, the Spero microscope offers unmatched spatial resolution, rapid-scanning, and wide-field capabilities all while eliminating the need for cryogenic cooling. This system is faster than Raman microscopes, by orders of magnitude, and avoids the detrimental effects of auto-fluorescence. Spero microscopes enable new data collection modalities such as real-time chemical imaging and user-defined sparse data collection. Their small benchtop footprints makes them suitable for labs with space constraints.

Chemical Imaging Research

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We have the technology. Our QCL technology and chemical imaging products are part of an ever-expanding array of applications. Tell us what you’re working on.

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