In 2009, Dr. DeSa took on the challenge of developing a UV/Vis spectrophotometer successful with light scattering samples.
For months after the prototype "Mitochondria Machine" successfully followed the electron transport chain in living cells, he was still shaking his head in amazement: "It works! It really works!"
As of 2019, there are over 50 scanning and CCD versions of CLARiTY spectrophotometers in use in laboratories in the US, UK, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Finland, China, Australia, and more. Both absorbance and fluorescence models are now available.
In 2018, the decision was made to produce single wavelength 280 nm CLARiTY models to measure protein concentration in turbid media. We soon realized that brewing, bioprocessing, and color monitoring can be done with one, two and three wavelengths, too, so was born the CLARiTY 1, 2, and 3 units.
Thus, 50 years after writing software to computerize premier scanning spectrophotometers, and designing many exclusive and superior UV/Vis spectrophotometers, Dr. DeSa now finds himself in front of tiny instruments which use a single LED light source, Raspberry Pi processor, and OLIS software for making one measurement perfectly.
In the Beginning...
"On-line Instrument Systems" was coined to reflect putting laboratory instruments - spectrophotometers - on-line with computers. With his doctoral advisor Quentin H. Gibson, Dr. DeSa was the first to achieve this. It was years later that instrument manufacturers added microprocessor-controlled data collections to their spectrometers.
The first spectrophotometer Dr. DeSa designed was a rapid-scanning UV/Vis which collects 1,000 scans per second. Today, 25 years after his OLIS RSM 1000 was patented, there are still no other UV/Vis spectrophotometers with millisecond scan rates on the market, let alone with the accompanying milliabsorbance sensitivity. The OLIS software for handling the megabyte of data was years in the writing an remains a tremendous achievement.
Upcycling Spectrophotometers was and is a considerable portion of our business. Computerizing pre-computer era spectrophotometers (aka, Cary 14, Cary 17, Aminco DW-2/000, and PE 983), replacing obsolete computerization with new (ChemStation for OlisWorks) and making old OLIS instruments like new keeps quality in use and eliminates the waste of replacing something great.
This one millisecond spectrum was collected on the prototype, circa 1992.
Scientific Integrity. Honesty. Mutual Fairness.
All while embracing best new technologies for highest precision correct answers.
“If it were easy, everyone would do it this way”
is a line we use here all the time.
It is hard to design, produce, and support the best. Our expertise is spectrophotometers, those for fast kinetics and those for highly ambitious measurements (absorbance and fluorescence on turbid samples, CPL, and more).
Founded in the 1970s by then tenured professor of biochemistry, Dr. Richard J. DeSa, On-line Instrument Systems (OLIS) remains a privately held family business in Athens, Georgia.
Over the decades, DeSa and his team have driven advances in molecular spectroscopy for the benefit of life and materials science. Well over a thousand unique UV/Vis and NIR spectrophotometry systems bear the OLIS name. Along the way, hundreds of the best UV/Vis and NIR spectrophotometers of the 1960s - 1980s were saved from the landfills and used in some of the most popular products for absorbance, fluorescence, CD, and now CPL.
“Nothing tends so much to the advancement of knowledge as the application of a new instrument.”
Sir Humphry Davy, 1812
Article authored by our founder, Dr. Richard DeSa, in 1969. See this article and more on his
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Dr. Richard DeSa.
In 2009, while developing the first CLARiTY, Dr. DeSa could frequently be heard muttering:
In 1998, we put this advertisement in the 75th anniversary issue of C&E News to celebrate 22 years in business. This photo shows that the very first delivered product under the Olis name, a (mini) computer system DeSa and his early partners produced to improve -- to upcycle -- a spectrophotometer at the University of Michigan.
It's now 2020, and we have been making brilliant breakthroughs happen for another 22 years!