New software solutions for analytical spectroscopists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Analytical spectroscopists must be computer literate to effectively carry out the tasks assigned to them. This has often been resisted within organizations with insufficient funds to equip their staff properly, a lack of desire to deliver the essential training and a basic resistance amongst staff to learn the new techniques required for computer assisted analysis. In the past these problems were compounded by seriously flawed software which was being sold for spectroscopic applications. Owing to the limited market for such complex products the analytical spectroscopist often was faced with buying incomplete and unstable tools if the price was to remain reasonable. Long product lead times meant spectrometer manufacturers often ended up offering systems running under outdated and sometimes obscure operating systems. Not only did this mean special staff training for each instrument where the knowledge gained on one system could not be transferred to the neighbouring system but these spectrometers were often only capable of running in a stand-alone mode, cut-off from the rest of the laboratory environment. Fortunately a number of developments in recent years have substantially changed this depressing picture. A true multi-tasking operating system with a simple graphical user interface, Microsoft Windows NT4, has now been widely introduced into the spectroscopic computing environment which has provided a desktop operating system which has proved to be more stable and robust as well as requiring better programming techniques of software vendors. The opening up of the Internet has provided an easy way to access new tools for data handling and has forced a substantial rethink about results delivery (for example Chemical MIME types, IUPAC spectroscopic data exchange standards). Improved computing power and cheaper hardware now allows large spectroscopic data sets to be handled without too many problems. This includes the ability to carry out chemometric operations in minutes rather than hours. Fast networks now enable data analysis of even multi-dimensional spectroscopic data sets remote from the measuring instrument. A strong tendency to opt for a more unified graphical user interface which is substantially more user friendly allows even inexperienced users to rapidly get acquainted with even the complex mathematical analyses. Some examples of new spectroscopic software products will be given to demonstrate the aforesaid points and highlight the ease of integration into a modem analytical spectroscopy workplace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Structure
Volume480-481
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Chemical MIME
  • Chemometrics
  • Data standards
  • Internet data delivery
  • Spectroscopic computing

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