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Ecosystems around the world are facing growing threats. The increasing pace of industrialization, pressure from growing populations and increasing urbanization, as well as climate changes, can wreak havoc on emerging economies and have health and social implications. Not surprisingly, researchers, scientists, and governments are investing significant resources to monitoring and preventing these environmental hazards.

Spectroscopy is a technique that is very well suited for various environmental applications. Recently, there has been an increase in the need to identify and trace chemical contaminants, especially organic compounds, as they have a negative impact on the environment.

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Learn more about spectroscopy applications in the environmental market

Contamination Monitoring

The monitoring of contaminants in ground water, air, soil and in products is of particular concern because of the difficulty of real-time, in-situ analysis that not only indicates the presence of contaminants, but can quickly quantitate and identify them as well.

Fluorescence measurements are a typical choice for detecting the presence of hydrocarbon pollutants, while Raman spectroscopy might be used to identify organic contaminants. Laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and fluorescence measurements are both used in processing nuclear material, and we see absorbance spectroscopy used in water quality monitoring of coastal waterways.

The AvaSpec-ULS2048CL-EVO is well suited for most standard environmental applications, including but not limited to fluorescence measurements.


Recycling has become an important subject in today’s society due to the impact of waste on our environment and the loss of valuable resources. Whereas in the past, recyclable materials (e.g. paper, plastics, and textiles) were sorted mainly by hand, the use of near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has become a standard in the recycling industry.

One of the most difficult materials to classify in recycling waste streams is plastic. Reflection measurements employing near-infrared spectroscopy enable the classification of many of the most common polymers present in recycling waste streams.

Modern large-scale recycling sorting systems are using NIR spectroscopy to rapidly and automatically identify different plastics and eliminate contaminants. The AvaSpec-Mini-NIR is well suited for this environmental application because of its versatility in the 900-1750 nm range. Due to its small form factor, this miniature spectrometer can easily be integrated into various recycling systems.

Environmental Recycling

Pollution Monitoring

As the developing world has continued to industrialize in its transition into modernity, the demand for energy is skyrocketing, particularly in places like China and India. While cleaner technologies are reaching some of the worldwide markets, roughly 40% of the electricity generated around the world is from coal-burning power plants; in countries such as China and India, this is as high as 70 to 75%. As a result, environmental monitoring systems are as relevant today as they have ever been.

Spectroscopy can be utilized for environmental monitoring in the forms of differential absorption spectroscopy (DOAS) and continuous emission monitoring systems (CEMS). Our AvaSpec-ULS2048x64-EVO and AvaSpec-ULS2048XL-EVO are great candidates to use for these applications.

Environmental Pollution

Why choose Avantes for your environmental application?

  • Real-time process monitoring
  • Ultra-low stray light design to ensure accurate measurements
  • Precise timing controls over instruments to ensure repeatable measurement procedures
  • Stable equipment to measure over long periods of time

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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 environmental industry.