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Pure Appl. Chem., 2002, Vol. 74, No. 12, pp. 2317-2322

Transitioning analytical instrumentation from the laboratory to harsh environments

R. B. Turner

Smiths Detection, 459 Park Avenue, Bushey, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD23 2BW, UK

Abstract: The development of sensitive analytical instrumentation for autonomous operation in harsh environments is a difficult and expensive process. The management of risk in this process is aided by the use of technology readiness levels (TRLs) and awareness that the exponential growth of costs through development militates very strongly against progressing the development prematurely. It is also essential to have a very clear view of the intended outcome at the earliest possible stage and to test the systems in realistic environments as soon and as often as possible. Economic production of large quantities of instruments requires considerable attention to the details of the production process and the control of materials; there is a constant battle against contamination. Future instrumentation might involve a combination of analytical techniques, but the desire for more selectivity and sensitivity must be balanced against cost, complexity, and reliability.