“If it were easy, everyone would do it this way” is true. It is hard to design and produce the best spectrophotometers.
Dr. DeSa's passion for the most direct and perfect data acquisition relies on very powerful software written in-house as well as a relentless embrace of the latest and best technology, much of which we also design ourselves. Today, this includes pulse lamps, FPGA firmware, LEDs, photon counters, and always, OLIS data acquisition/instrument control software.
This photo was taken in August 2019, moments after Dick affirmed that his first CPL Solo (circularly polarized luminescence spectrometer) is working correctly. Between the computer and the black instrument is a digital oscilloscope used to monitor signals from the instrument's electronics during testing.
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 2009, while developing the first CLARiTY, Dr. DeSa could frequently be heard muttering:
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.
On-line Instrument Systems, OLIS, is a privately held business in Athens, Georgia, founded by Dr. Richard DeSa in the 1970s.
Throughout the decades, Dick DeSa and his team have driven advances in molecular spectroscopy for the benefit of life and materials science.
Hundreds of unique UV/Vis and NIR spectrophotometry systems bear the OLIS name.
“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.
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