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Medical and biomedical researchers, as well as OEMs, frequently utilize spectroscopy techniques for clinical and research processes. Ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared wavelength ranges are measured for a variety of medical and biomedical applications. 

Fiber-optic based spectrometers offer a great value to the industry due to their ability to facilitate in-situ (in vivo) measurements within clinical settings. The fiber-optic interface is often exploited for low-cost, disposable testing procedures. Low-cost instruments also present the opportunity to bring the lab to the patient. Biomedical analysis can benefit from the superior price to performance ratio realized by using fiber-optic spectrometers in place of traditional, higher-priced instruments and detectors.

Our instruments are utilized in various medical and biomedical applications such as blood analysis (co-oximetry), endoscopy, tissue fluorescence, capillary electrophoresis, phototherapy, and many other purposes. Avantes’ experiences in these industries range from OEM component suppliers to research system configurators.

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Co-Oximetry and Blood Analysis

Co-oximetry is a spectrophotometric methodology that employs Beer-Lambert law absorption principles to measure blood gas parameters. This analysis is typically conducted using in the visible light wavelength range (380-780 nm). The blood gas parameters which can be measured by co-oximetry include total hemoglobin (tHb), oxyhemoglobin (O₂Hb), deoxyhemoglobin (HHb), methemoglobin (MetHb), carboxyhemoglobin (COHb), and bilirubin (tBil). Oxygen saturation in the blood can also be measured by co-oximetry and this method is preferable to the use of SO₂c which is also known as calculated oxygen saturation.

Avantes AvaSpec ultra-low stray light spectrometers (ULS) are ideally suited to medical co-oximetry measurements. Stray light can introduce undesirable error into spectroscopic measurements and there are few applications where error reduction is more critical than co-oximetry. The AvaSpec ULS design also provides critical thermal and mechanical stability which provides for critical wavelength stability in this application. The most commonly used instrument for this application is the AvaSpec-ULS2048CL-EVO. All Avantes instruments are thermally tested in an 8-hour thermal cycling test to ensure our instruments have wavelength stability over various temperature ranges. 


Endoscopy is a medical diagnostic procedure that typically involves imaging of the upper gastrointestinal tract utilizing a probe-based system that is guided through the mouth into the stomach. During the traditional endoscopy procedure, spectroscopic measurements can be added in order to provide richer details to the clinician for diagnostic purposes.  Avantes works with a variety of researchers on endoscopic measurement to facilitate measurements during this procedure. The AvaSpec-HS2048XL-EVO high-sensitivity spectrometer has a proven track record for this application.

The typical measurements are reflectance-based and cover the range from 300-800 nm.  Avantes offers a complete line of light sources to support the illumination requirements for endoscopy. The AvaLight-XE pulsed xenon source and the AvaLight-HAL-S-Mini tungsten halogen sources are available as housed independent sources or for integration as OEM modules.

Dermal Reflection/Fluorescence

Reflection measurements on the skin and internal tissues can reveal a great deal of information that can aid in the diagnosis of conditions. One example of such measurement is the detection of advanced glycogen end products (AGEs) in patients using a dermal autofluorescence measurement. Deep tissue reflection may also be measured in the near-infrared (800-1100 nm) to determine the effectiveness of radiation therapy at reducing cancerous masses. Ultraviolet and visible fluorescence may also be used in the detection of cancerous tissues. Avantes offers a number of high sensitivity, low stray light instruments for medical and biomedical detection. The AvaSpec-HS2048XL-EVO back-thinned CCD operates over the range from 200-1100 nm features a 0.22 numerical aperture and back-thinned CCD detector for optimal sensitivity. Fiber-optic sampling facilitates the non-invasive measurement of small areas.

All Avantes instruments are available as laboratory instruments in single-channel housing or multi-channel ‘rackmount’ housings as well as OEM modules. Requests for customization are welcome.

Why choose Avantes for your medical or biomedical application?

  • Thermal stability of optical bench with 8-hour test validation
  • Ultra-low stray light design to ensure accurate measurements
  • Precise timing controls over instruments to ensure repeatable measurement procedures
  • Highly sensitive optical bench designs (HS) for maximum light collection

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These include some of the products mentioned in the application examples above. To find the perfect setup for your specific application, contact one of our sales engineers for advice.

Application Examples

Below are some detailed application notes on various uses of spectroscopy in the medical and biomedical industries.