Miniaturized Raman spectrometers and microscopes by Lightnovo ApS 


By Mr. Oleksii Ilchenko, CEO, and Ms. Oksana Farion, Sales and Marketing Specialist, Lightnovo ApS, Denmark

  “Harness the power of Raman spectroscopy and make it widely accessible for the benefit of mankind.”

Lightnovo’s Mission

Lightnovo is a start-up company from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) that had been founded in 2019 by a team united by the belief in making a difference with innovative Raman spectroscopy solutions. 

Our goal is to provide premium performance Raman spectrometers and microscopes with the world’s smallest form factor at an affordable price that democratizes access and opens new application areas.  

We consider the development of Raman systems for identification of unknown, hazardous, and illegal substances by police, customs officers and defense agencies as a company key focus area. 

Why is Raman spectroscopy? Raman spectroscopy is a fast highly sensitive non-destructive method for the identification and quantification of the unknown materials, illegal drugs, counterfeit alcohol, chemicals in explosives and other precursors. The identification is done in seconds and there is no need to open plastic bad or glass bottle with unknown substances. Therefore, the evidence will remain intact and the risk of health safety for the officer is minimized. 

Important challenge is to get a small and lightweight hand-held Raman system with research-grade performance that can be easily put in the pocket or being fixed on the belt and will operate in the most extreme thermal, moisture and dust conditions. 

Existing hand-held Raman devices are still rather large and are mostly used in scientific and industrial laboratories. Moreover, sensitivity of handheld Raman spectrometers is less than research grade systems with deep cooling spectroscopic sensors that limits their applicability in challenging applications.  

MiniRaman spectrometer 

Our company introduces a miniaturized high-throughput and high-sensitivity miniRaman spectrometer.

To reduce the cost price, we used a consumer-level infrared-optimized imaging detector. The device optics (lasers, lenses, and the spectrometer) was customized for the highest throughput (up to 88% from the sample to the detector) and diffraction limited spot size for the best performance. Moreover, miniRaman contains two lasers with wavelengths 660 nm and 785 nm to extend measured spectral range. Lasers do not have any temperature stabilization to save battery power and further reduce the cost of the device. To compensate wavelength drift of unstabilized lasers, we implemented an in-built reference channel that collects a Raman spectrum of polystyrene. Therefore, our Raman spectrometer is automatically calibrated on Raman shift and laser intensity during each spectrum registration. The device has the following specification:  

  • two lasers at the wavelengths: 660 nm and 785 nm; 
  • laser power can vary between 2 to 30 mW at 660 nm, 15 to 150 mW at 785 nm; 
  • spectral range 2750-4500 cm-1 at 660 nm, 400-2500 cm-1 at 785 nm; 
  • spectral resolution 8-12 cm-1 (varying across the spectral range); 
  • wavenumber accuracy ±2.5 cm-1

MiniRaman spectrometer can be easily equipped with various accessories to work with different types of samples – liquids, gases, powders. There are also specialized accessories for skin analysis.  

MiniRaman system controlled by smartphone or PC via Bluetooth or USB-C cable. 

Based on feedback from users and potential customers from defense industry and police we are working on a new model of miniRaman spectrometer 2.0 with display.  

The new model allows materials ID without the need of device operation via smartphone or PC. We are also working on moisture resistance, dust resistance and shock resistance of the instrument to ensure the ability to analyze in the most extreme conditions.  

MiniRaman microscope 

To expand the possibilities of research, Lightnovo company has developed a world’s smallest confocal miniRaman microscope with modular design for chemical and structural analysis. The heart of the microscope is the miniRaman spectrometer. If the customer already has a spectrometer, it is enough to purchase a specialized microscopy platform and install the spectrometer in it. 

The MiniRaman microscope provides diffraction limited spatial resolution, it has extremely high throughput and is additionally equipped with reflected visible light microscopy on a separate camera sensor. MiniRaman microscope can be used in upright microscopy and inverted microscopy configurations. All what is need for switching between modes – flipping the device from top to bottom. 

This instrumental setup allows for both sample viewing using the optical microscopy capabilities and performing measurements by Raman spectroscopy simultaneously. 

The visual observation reveals morphological details of a sample (e.g., color, size, shape), whereas the spectroscopic measurement reveals information about the molecular structure and chemical composition of a sample. 


Lightnovo ApS produces affordable miniaturized high-throughput and high-sensitivity miniRaman spectrometers with extended spectral range via dual laser that is excellent for material`s identification and has premium performance for the quantitative analysis.  

MiniRaman spectrometer has established itself as a promising product for police, customs, and defense agencies for the analysis of unknown, hazardous materials and illegal drugs. 

The company also developed a solution for Raman microscopy – extremely compact miniRaman microscope with high mapping resolution and modular design that is based on miniRaman spectrometer. 

Our company is highly interested in producing products that will be the best solution for the fast materials identification in the field. For this reason, we are open to cooperation with potential users and will be grateful for your comments and suggestions. 

About the Authors:

Oleksii Ilchenko is the CEO and Founder of Lightnovo ApS. He studied at the Technical University of Denmark, Department of Health Technology, Center for Intelligent Drug Delivery and Sensing Using Microcontainers and Nanomechanics. 

Ms. Oksana Farion is Sales and Marketing Specialist at Lightnovo ApS. 

*All the pictures are provided by Lightnovo ApS.

If you wish to read more on the topic: 

Ilchenko, O., Rindzevicius, T., Boisen, A. & Slipets, R. An apparatus for carrying out Raman spectroscopy. Patent No. WO2019145005, 2018. 

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