# Near IR spectroscopy vs. IR spectroscopy

I am a backer of this Kickstarter: SCiO Near IR Spectroscopy

Here is a link to their technology: SCiO Technology

Question: How short of full IR spectroscopy do you think this device is? I have asked them whether we could program the SCiO to act as an IR spectrometer, and they have said this would require additional programming (which I am not qualified to do). But I am wondering if there would still be limitations. Conversely, Consumer Physics seems to imply that our taking more observations with the SCiO will make the device smarter and more useful.

This is obviously a question directed at experts in IR spectroscopy, which I am most definitely not.

This is more or less speculation, since they haven't released detailed technical specifications, but given the size of the instrument and the need to avoid moving parts to keep it durable, I would wager that it uses an IR LED for illumination, a diffraction grating for dispersion (although from the picture, it doesn't look like there's room for a conventional reflective diffraction grating setup so they might be doing something else), and probably some kind of silicon CCD or InGaAs diode array for detection. If this is the case, it's likely impossible to convert for use in conventional IR spectroscopy—not as a matter of programming, but simply that the hardware is not equipped to do it. Normal mid-IR spectroscopy (below about $4000\mathrm{\ cm^{-1}}$) involves much longer wavelengths beyond what LEDs can do, which generally means some kind of incandescent lamp, optics that don't involve glass (which blocks mid-IR), and a detector that can deal with such low energy photons (there are a few semiconductor-based sensors that looks promising, but most spectrometers use thermal detectors). There is also the matter of dealing with all the water in the air—many IR spectrometers have gas purge systems in their sample chambers.