High Performance, Low Cost…

Is a “black-box” instrument really what you need ?

Today, the vast majority of instruments are developed by teams of scientists and engineers (mechanical, optical, electrical and software) working in large companies with significant overheads. Sadly, many University departments/faculties have closed down their mechanical and electronic workshops, so that instrument builders in that sector have all but vanished.

Commercially developed instrumentation tends to adopt a “black box” approach; samples are presented and results are generated while deliberately keeping the user distanced from the underlying details of the measurements.

While a “black-box” style of instrument with a very rich feature set is highly desirable in a commercial analytical lab, it is not necessarily well suited in a teaching environment where ease-of-use, cost and the overall educational value of an instrument package may be important drivers for an instructor’s choice. Particularly when the main goal is to train students in the underlying principles and applications of instrumental techniques/analysis a more open approach to the instrumentation may be preferable.

What differentiates my approach?

My instruments are designed with no more or less complexity than is absolutely required. Through tight integration of sensors, data acquisition electronics and the very latest embedded processor technology I’ve developed solutions to a range of chemical measurement problems that are hard to beat in terms of their performance/price ratio.

Most of the instruments here are controlled via a LabVIEWTM front panel, affording them not only a professional appearance but also ease-of-use. Having considerable experience both teaching and researching in a tertiary educational environment I realize the value and importance of having instruments that are also well documented via tested experiments.

My website provides a wealth of resource materials and describes many different scientific instruments that are great for teaching fundamental principles of instrumental analysis. These instruments aim to push the performance envelope while keeping the costs to an absolute minimum - so that they are truly affordable.