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Analytics – Johnny on the spot

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s PenDoc makes sampling the surface of a strawberry for pesticides, for example, quick and easy.

August 3, 2016 – Mass spectrometry and direct sampling come together in a powerful way with a new technology that can identify a material in mere seconds. PenDoc, invented by Gary Van Berkel and Vilmos Kertesz of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, could help in drug discovery, medical diagnostics, food safety, the environment, forensics and national security. The design consists of a pen-like sampler that the user touches to the surface being tested. The sample is then dissolved in the pen and transferred to a flowing solvent stream and on to a mass spectrometer and analysis software. The mass spectrometry market for rapid detection is expected to reach $19 billion globally by 2020, according to Transparency Market Research.