Category Archives: Technical

Methods for the Detection and Monitoring of Microplastics in the Environment

Wednesday, January 18, Webinar at 6:30 PM Pacific time [Register Here]


Microplastics have recently been recognized as a significant environmental contaminant with implications for human health and carbon capture. It is widely recognized that we need to control and decrease the level of microplastics in our society. The California State Water Control Resources Board mandates that agencies that deliver water to the majority of California residents need to monitor for microplastics. However, the reduction of microplastic levels is challenging since detection and monitoring of these contaminants is difficult.

This presentation will provide a review of microplastics and the range of methods being used for monitoring, including the FTIR and Raman methods recommended by the California State Water Resources Control Board.

Finally, a discussion on Soar Optics’ advanced methods to improve the speed and efficiency of microplastics detection and monitoring will be discussed. Our methods incorporate Raman scattering using dedicated sensors for the major microplastics found in the environment, allowing for rapid scanning and comprehensive analysis of most typical samples.

Speaker Background & Research Interests:

Dr. Barnett is the CEO of Soar Optics, a company founded in 2022 to develop advanced optical sensors for materials characterization.

Technical Background

Dr. Barnett has 25 years of experience in the methods being developed by Soar Optics. He is the author of the patent-pending technology that Soar Optics is developing, and is a co-author on 22 published papers in refereed journals.

Dr. Barnett received his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from McGill University and subsequently worked as a Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Since 1997, Dr. Barnett has worked with many industries in the application of optical methods for materials characterization. His roles have included sales, applications development, support, and management. He has also been active in a range of scientific societies including the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) as a member of the Executive Committee and the Governing Board, in addition to serving as President of the Northern California local section for many years. He is a member of the American Society for Trace Evidence Examiners (ASTEE), SPIE, and the Materials Research Society.

Business Background

Dr. Barnett holds an MBA degree from the Graduate School of Management of the University of California, Davis, with an emphasis on technology management, organizational behavior, and entrepreneurship.

In addition to his work at Soar, Dr. Barnett is the Principal of Barnett Technical Services, a company that sells instrumentation for chemical and materials analysis since 2010. He is also a Founder of InnoGrove, a coworking space in Elk Grove, CA that supports the Elk Grove entrepreneurial community.

DATE: Wednesday, January 18

Registration deadline: Tuesday, January 17, 1:00 PM.

Webinar Timing: 6:30 PM.

Please register on the web page.


Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) represents one of the most powerful super-microscopy techniques for material characterization. In order to obtain powerful images, it is critical to have a very thin section of material that allows for electron transmission through the sample.

The Micro Support Axis Pro micromanipulator can transfer FIB foils to TEM grids outside (ex situ) the SEM chamber. 

This article inlcudes videos, diagrams and descriptions of Lift-Out on the Micromanipulator. Click here for the entire article.

MobileGuard Gas Detection

Teco Peoples Gas hits the road in one of their new methane detection vehicles. These vehicles are going to be game changers for Peoples Gas. The Ford Escapes are outfitted with MobileGuard, a cutting-edge, laser-based analyzer that uses special software and windspeed calculations to pinpoint natural gas leaks by locating methane emissions. The sensitive sensors can detect with ultra-high precision – parts per billion, as compared with our handheld leak detection equipment which detects parts per million. That means they will detect methane emissions that you can’t smell and would otherwise go unnoticed. And, the system is smart enough to know if the methane detected is from natural gas or other sources like biogas from sewers.

Click here to view the whole story

Installation Highlights

We are glad to share the news about the implementation of Barnett Technical Services installation of a significant engineering project.

The company has received the request and later an order from the Chevron energy corporation’s research center to develop an IR Fourier Spectrometer for controlling the chemical reaction in the on-line process.

The Barnet Technical Services Team along with Ostec engineers have implemented developing the industrial version on the basis of the standard air based FTIR spectrometer IROS 05. To transform the research device into an industrial unit it was necessary to develop a sealed device case filled with dry nitrogen under extra pressure, to select and replace a typical IR detector with an MCT detector with Peltier cooling, to develop a cooling system and temperature stabilization for ensure the lowest possible noise level inside the device, as well as specialized software for obtaining data and its subsequent processing.

AttoLight’s CHRONOS Time-Resolved Cathodoluminescence for characterizing CIGS SOLAR CELL

Attolight’s Chronos time-resolved cathodoluminescence tool was recently used to characterize an advanced Cu(In,Ga)S2 device that showed an efficiency of 15.2% from a H2S-free, Cd-free, and KCN-free process. significantly limited mainly due to photovoltage (Voc) losses in the bulk and at the interfaces. Here, via a combination of photoluminescence, cathodoluminescence, electrical measurements, and ab initio modeling, we address the bulk and interface losses to improve ∼1.6-eV-band-gap (Eg) Cu(In,Ga)S2. The optoelectronic quality of the absorber improves upon reducing the [Cu]/[Ga+In] (CGI) ratio, as manifested by the suppression of deep defects, higher quasi-Fermi level splitting (QFLS), improved charge-carrier lifetime, and higher Voc. We identify antisite CuIn/CuGa as a major performance-limiting deep defect by comparing the formation energies of various intrinsic defects. Interface recombination is suppressed using a Zn(O,S) buffer layer in Cu-poor devices, which leads to the activation energy of recombination equal to the Eg. We demonstrate an efficiency of 15.2% with Voc of 902 mV from a H2S-free, Cd-free, and KCN-free process.

Context & scale

Cu(In,Ga)S2 is a high-potential material for its usage in tandem solar cells; however, its power conversion efficiency has remained limited so far. High bulk recombination losses and interface losses both account for the performance limitation. In this work, we adopt a holistic approach to address both bulk and interface recombination losses. We show that bulk recombination losses can be substantially suppressed by controlling the Cu deficiency in the material. From theoretical calculations, we argue that Cu deficiency reduces the antisite defects that are probably the most detrimental defects. Additionally, we effectively passivate the interface through the usage of Zn(O,S) buffer layer, thereby minimizing the losses at the interface. This leads to a solar cell device performance of over 15% from 1.6-eV-band-gap Cu(In,Ga)S2 from a completely non-toxic process. The path to further performance improvement is discussed to increase the viability of Cu(In,Ga)S2 toward tandem application.

For More information

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Phone: 916-897-2441
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Quantum Diamond AFM

Quantum Diamond Atomic Force Microscope (QDAFM) is a quantum precision measurement instrument based on both nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond and AFM scanning imaging technology. It can be detected with magnetic imaging quantitatively and non-destructively by quantum control and readout of spin in luminous NV center defect. With nanoscale high spatial resolution and single spin ultra-high detection sensitivity, QDAFM is an innovative technology to develop and study area of physics, chemistry, material science, life science, biomedical science, etc, such as high density magnetic storage, spintronics, magnetic domain imaging, 2D materials, topological magnetic structure, superconducting magnetic, cell imaging and quantum techniques applications.

Click here to learn more about this cutting edge technology.

Ramanomics: Quantification of Proteins, Nucleic Acids, & Lipids Inside Eukaryotic Cells

Molecular function in eukaryotic cells can be studied by quantifying proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids inside intracellular organelles. Traditionally, this quantification is performed through techniques that are given “-omic” terms such as proteomics, metabolomics, lipidomics, etc. using mass spectrometry (MS)-based techniques. 

Raman spectroscopy has traditionally been used to quantify the molecular structure of a wide range of chemical species with size ranges from near-field (<100 nm) to bulk measurements. Extensive work has gone into the application of Raman spectroscopy in many biochemical applications but successful solutions have often been difficult due to the complexity of the information obtained in the measurement and interferences arising from the laser-based methods used for Raman spectroscopy. Dr. Andrey Kuzmin of the University at Buffalo and Advanced Cytometry Instrumentation Systems, LLC, has successfully bridged this gap with the application of Raman spectroscopy to the quantification of intracellular components.  His development, termed “Ramanomics” can be used to quantify proteins, DNA, RNA, and lipids in live cells.

Click here to read the entire article.