Research & Development, Analytical Services and Consulting in Advanced Sensors, Materials and Fuels
Non-Routine Analytical Services
For challenging liquid, solid or gas-phase analyses which are not easily addressed by normal analytical techniques and off-the-shelf instrumentation, AFR offers a full range of non-routine analytical services, all planned and supervised by PhD scientists. AFR has a multi-million dollar infrastructure of carefully selected and specialized instrumentation, including FT-IR, FT-Raman, Spectral Emissivity, TG-FTIR, Surface Area, Pore Size Distributions, and SEM/x-ray analysis. AFR can also develop customized instrumentation to fit specific analytical requirements.
Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR) - AFR has developed advanced FT-IR methods for characterizing a wide variety of hydrocarbon materials. These include coal, coal products, lignin, whole biomass, oil shales, and transportation fuels (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel). In order to extract functional group concentrations, a curve analysis program is used to synthesize the infrared spectra by adding absorption peaks with Gaussian shapes and variable positions, widths, and heights.
TG-FTIR - The TG-FTIR instrument consists of a thermogravimetric analyzer (TG) for measuring weight loss coupled with a Fourier-Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectrometer for analysis of evolved gases. The TG-FTIR method was originally developed at AFR for the study of low heating rate pyrolysis of coal. However, it has also been used to characterize the pyrolysis and combustion behavior of a wide variety of materials, including petroleum source rocks, plant biomass, tires and other waste materials, polymers, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, and composites. A commercial unit was developed for sale, which is known as the Series 101 TG-Plus Analyzer. Applications include research & development, and quality control/quality assurance.
Raman - Expertise in Fourier Transform Raman (FT-Raman) spectroscopy has been developed for a variety of applications. These include real-time monitoring of cure for expoxies and polyamides, fuel analysis, and trace chemical analysis using Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS). The trace analyses that have been demonstrated include DNA acid-base pairs, drug detection and pesticides. The SERS work is facilitated by the development of Simple SERS Sample Vials (patent pending), which are available for sale.
Optical Properties - AFR has developed several techniques to measure the optical properties of materials, with an emphasis on the infrared region. These include the use of FT-IR emission/transmission spectroscopy to measure the spectral emittance of gas suspended particles (Series 100 FT-IR Emission/Transmission Spectrometer) and the development of an automated bench-top emissometer which measures spectral emissivity over a broad spectral range from the near to mid infrared (Series 205 Spectral Emissometer). This instrument can be used for a wide range of materials, including silicon, glass, quartz, sapphire, metals, ash, slag, semi-conductors and composites.
R&D 100 Award Winner 2012, 2008, 2001, 1996, and 1995