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mIRage IR Microscope

Overcoming the greatest limitations of IR spectroscopy

The mIRage is sub-micron IR spectroscopy and imaging system. O-PTIR is a proprietary technique that breaks the diffraction limit of infrared. It bridges the gap between conventional IR micro-spectroscopy and nanoscale IR spectroscopy.

  • – Sub-micron IR spectroscopy and imaging
  • – Non-contact – fast and easy to use
  • – Transmission quality IR spectra in reflection mode
  • – No need for thin sections

mIRage overcomes the greatest issues in IR microscopy:

  • – Sub-micron spatial resolution
  • – Measure thick samples in reflection mode
  • – None of the dispersive artifacts and contact limitations of ATR


Overcomes the limitations of IR

Sub-micron spatial resolution

Non-contact technique

Little or no sample preparation

No need for thin sections

Transmission FTIR quality spectra

In reflection mode

Combine with simultaneous Raman


How does O-PTIR work?

A tunable, pulsed mid-IR laser is focused on the sample’s surface. This causes photothermal effects, which are then measured using a visible probe laser.

Advantages of O-PTIR

  • Collect data quickly and easily.
  • Non-contact based technique.
  • Spectra are comparable to FTIR, without the dispersive artifacts of ATR.
  • Samples do not need to be thin, so there’s little or no sample preparation, speeding up the process.

Simultaneous Sub-Micron IR and Raman Microscopy – A World First

Submicron infrared can be combined with Raman for simultaneous IR and Raman on the same spot, with the same resolution. This is a world first, opening up a whole new range of research possibilities.

 More about IR and Raman

mirage at Manchester University

“We were very happy with all of our interactions with Blue Scientific from getting the initial quote, sorting out the design and configurations and overseeing the installation.”
Dr Alice Spadea, North West Centre for Advanced Drug Delivery, The University of Manchester

Left: Prof. Peter Gardner, Dr Alice Spadea and Dr Johanna Denbigh with the mIRage at The University of Manchester.

Example Applications


O-PTIR: Multilayer Polymer Film


With higher spatial resolution than traditional IR microscopy, O-PTIR is ideal for polymer science and materials development.

  • Polymer phase dispersions
  • Laminates
  • Fibres
  • Bioplastics
  • Films and layers – more details…

Left: Multilayer packaging film block face sample with spectra collected from manually selected locations, with little to no sample preparation. The spectra show the different composition of each layer.

Live Cells in Water

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Life Science

O-PTIR opens up new applications for infrared in life science. Unlike traditional IR, it’s suitable for liquid and solid samples, so it can be used to study living systems, and you can measure rough, hard, soft or sticky samples.  The visible optical beam can be focussed 20 times smaller than the IR beam, for significantly enhanced spatial resolution.

  • Live cells in water
  • Blood cells
  • Single bacterial cells
  • … and more.

Left: Live, hydrated epithelial cheek cells in water. Key macromolecules can be distiguished in the spectraand spatially isolated. A lipid inclusion as small as 0.5-1 µm is resolved easily. The spectra are not corrected for water so are inclusive of water absorbance.

More about sub-micron IR in life science

Examples of life science applications with O-PTIR

O-PTIR in Alzheimer’s Disease research

Cell type differentiation on glass slides

O-PTIR: Microplastics

Click to enlarge


O-PTIR can measure sub-micron particles and fibres in far field reflection mode, delivering FTIR transmission-like spectral quality regardless of particle shape and size. When coupled with simultaneous Raman, it provides even more thorough and accurate characterisation of microplastics and particulates.

Left: PS and PMMA dispersed in saline.

O-PTIR: Failure Analysis

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Contamination / Failure Analysis

Identify small features, defects and contaminants on tech products of ever decreasing size, to satisfy strict control standards. O-PTIR gives you sub-micron spatial resolution in non-contact reflection mode, for product quality and process control.

Left: Failure analysis of technological components, comparing unknown O-PTIR and Raman spectra with library matches for a 6 µm defect.

Forensics fabric sample

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Analyse fibres as small as 800 nm to 22 microns, and fibres with surface treatments. Fibres can be analysed directly without modification or sampling accessories, and without the traditional problems encountered with infrared. More details…

Paint analysis with O-PTIR + Raman delivers thorough chemical characterisation of paint cross-sections, providing rich information on their organic and inorganic composition at high spatial resolution (less than 1 µm). Watch a recorded webinar…

Left: Optical image of a fabric sample. The marker points to where ~0.5 µm IR spectra were acquired using mIRage. Strong absorbance at 1732 cm-1 indicates a carbonyl stretch of polyester.

O-PTIR in Pharmaceuticals


In this drug/polymer blend sample, a reflection mode single wavelength image (50 x 50 µm) highlights distribution of the drug (dexamethasone) in a PLGA polymer matrix.

Micro-electronics Contamination

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Micro-electronics Contamination

This examples shows O-PTIR and Raman spectral information collected in reflection mode from a ~6 μm wide contamination particle. The spectra were collected simultaneously from the same spot in reflection mode. The O-PTIR spectrum is fully comparable an FTIR transmission/ATR database. Full experiment details..


Polymers and Composite Materials

View all solutions for polymer analysis.

Failure Analysis



Simultaneous IR and Raman Microscopy

Simultaneous infrared and Raman Microscopy - a world first, using the mIRage IR microscope from Photothermal Spectroscopy Corp.

O-PTIR (Optical Photothermal IR) in Alzheimer’s Disease Research

A scientific paper has been published using O-PTIR in Alzheimer's Disease research, to study amyloid protein aggregation directly in neurons.

O-PTIR in Life Science Workshop Videos

Watch videos of the talks from our online workshop "O-PTIR in Life Science".

Cell Differentiation on Glass Slides with O-PTIR

For the first time, optical photothermal IR was used to study malignant and non-malignant lung cells. Glass substrates were used without blocking mid-IR spectra, and >90% accuracy for cell classification was achieved.

New Life Science Applications of O-PTIR

Optical Photothermal IR is a breakthrough technique that's opening up new possibilities in life science and biological research.

Sub-Micron Chemical Analysis of Biological Samples with O-PTIR

O-PTIR is a breakthrough technique for sub-micron chemical analysis and imaging of live cells in water, red blood cells, mineral distribution in bone, single bacteria and many more life science applications.

Characterising Multilayer Films with IR Spectroscopy at Sub-micron Resolution

How to characterise multilayer films at sub-micron resolution with infrared, using O-PTIR spectroscopy.

New Scientific Publications in 2021 featuring O-PTIR and IR + Raman

This year there have already been three scientific publications featuring the breakthough techniques of O-PTIR and IR + Raman.

Identifying Organic Contaminants with Submicron IR and Simultaneous Raman Microscopy

Breakthrough technique for identifying contaminants in failure analysis and process control, using O-PTIR.

Media Gallery

Recorded webinar

How O-PTIR overcomes the two main problems of IR spectroscopy:

– Poor spatial resolution
– Time-consuming sample preparation

Dr Curtis Marcott of Light Light Solutions and Craig Prater of Photothermal present the benefits of O-PTIR.

 Watch now…


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