US Food and Drug Administration scientist uses portable near infrared spectroscopy device to detect potentially illegal substances
Analytical chemistry has applications including in forensic science, bioanalysis, clinical analysis, environmental analysis, and materials analysis. Analytical chemistry research is largely driven by performance (sensitivity, detection limit, selectivity, robustness, dynamic range, linear range, accuracy, precision, and speed), and cost (purchase, operation, training, time, and space). Among the main branches of contemporary analytical atomic spectrometry, the most widespread and universal are optical and mass spectrometry. In the direct elemental analysis of solid samples, the new leaders are laser-induced breakdown and laser ablation mass spectrometry, and the related techniques with transfer of the laser ablation products into inductively coupled plasma. Advances in design of diode lasers and optical parametric oscillators promote developments in fluorescence and ionization spectrometry and also in absorption techniques where uses of optical cavities for increased effective absorption pathlength are expected to expand. The use of plasma- and laser-based methods is increasing. An interest towards absolute (standardless) analysis has revived, particularly in emission spectrometry
Great effort is being put in shrinking the analysis techniques to chip size. Although there are few examples of such systems competitive with traditional analysis techniques, potential advantages include size/portability, speed, and cost. (micro total analysis system (µTAS) or lab-on-a-chip). Microscale chemistry reduces the amounts of chemicals used.
Many developments improve the analysis of biological systems. Examples of rapidly expanding fields in this area are genomics, DNA sequencing and related research in genetic fingerprinting and DNA microarray; proteomics, the analysis of protein concentrations and modifications, especially in response to various stressors, at various developmental stages, or in various parts of the body, metabolomics, which deals with metabolites; transcriptomics, including mRNA and associated fields; lipidomics – lipids and its associated fields; peptidomics – peptides and its associated fields; and metalomics, dealing with metal concentrations and especially with their binding to proteins and other molecules