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Securing dangerous sites is the ultimate goal in any sensitive site exploitation (SSE) directive. SSE missions include three main components: enter the site, assess the environment, and collect and identify materials. Military personnel, first responders, and Hazmat specialists must be prepared to find anything while working: chemical warfare agents, toxic chemicals, deadly narcotics, or even improvised explosives. They require tools that inform and protect them from hazards in the field. Metrohm has the ultimate solution to perform these tasks—IBEX is in a league of its own. It is a quadrupedal robot equipped with a standoff Raman spectrometer (MIRA XTR DS) and a suite of environmental sensors. This remote-operated robot can safely perform preliminary reconnaissance – scan an environment, identify materials, and report back on specific conditions.

Material ID with Raman

Raman spectroscopy is an analytical technique that can distinguish between thousands of potentially deadly substances with simple point-and-shoot operation. MIRA (Metrohm Instant Raman Analyzer) retrieves data from potentially hazardous samples with through-container and standoff investigations, direct immersion testing, and remote and delayed acquisition. Most critically, Raman analysis gives real-time results for improved response. It is fast, accurate, and requires no contact for materials identification.

Metrohm Raman, Mira DS, PowerPack, Handheld Raman, Illicit Materials, Materials ID, Narcotics

MIRA XTR DS combines all of these qualities in a rugged, compact form factor. In the face of emerging danger, MIRA can identify potential threats and help a team understand, plan, and execute their core objectives.

Safely and quickly identify suspicious substances like white powders without opening the container and risking exposure. The Long Working Distance Attachment on MIRA XTR DS will scan through most transparent/translucent materials, while the PowerPack gives you the freedom of hours of working time in the field.

Read our companion blog article to learn more about Raman spectroscopy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Raman spectroscopy: Theory and usage

Promoting safety with standoff Raman

Exposure to fentanyl and other narcotic, toxic, radiological, nuclear, and explosive (CBRNE) materials can be fatal. Identifying these threats from a safe distance protects lives.

Standoff sampling can identify a material in many containers from up to two meters away. Its remote acquisition capabilities mean that a system can be positioned, the room cleared of personnel, and the laser armed and activated by a nearby operator. Standoff Raman has many benefits.  It can:

  • reduce exposure to potentially fatal situations
  • collect forensic evidence from crime scenes without any disturbance
  • survey potentially explosive materials from a distance

Easily identify materials with Autofocus Standoff (AFSO)

Military personnel, first responders, and other Hazmat professionals specialize in site reconnaissance, but they may not be experts at materials ID. The ideal SSE tools enable any operator to make complicated analyses quickly and easily. Automation and guided workflows take the guesswork out of sample interrogation—this is where Autofocus Standoff (AFSO) from Metrohm Raman really shines.

AFSO is specifically designed as a «Ready! Aim! Fire!» standoff Raman system. An operator targets a material with the laser sight, AFSO prepares the system for standoff sampling, then the operator arms MIRA’s laser and takes a sample.

Simple. Fast. Accurate.

Identify materials through their packaging from up to two meters away with Autofocus Standoff (AFSO). This MIRA attachment automatically focuses on the subject, resulting in optimal accuracy at a distance.

IBEX with MIRA XTR DS and AFSO attachment.
MIRA XTR DS, Raman spectroscopy, defense and security, first responders, remote sampling, handheld Raman, narcotics, explosives, AFSO, Autofocus Standoff Attachment

Autofocus Standoff applications

MIRA XTR DS and AFSO have many potential configurations depending on the scenario:

  • simple handheld usage for instant results without any bulky equipment
  • pistol-grip operation for situations requiring a more secure handhold
  • tripod mounting improves laser aim, reducing human error especially when stakes are high
  • robot integration (with or without environmental sensors) provides top level security for potentially deadly situations

Robot integration with MIRA XTR DS and AFSO

IBEX brings everything together for ultimate SSE capabilities. Integrating MIRA XTR DS, AFSO, and a suite of environmental sensors on a robot results in a compelling, powerful tool that increases a team's ability to execute site exploration with utter precision and safety. Under remote operation, a robot can access the scene, assess potential threats, and gather samples without ever putting a human in the way of danger.

IBEX harnesses the superior maneuverability of the Spot® robot from Boston Dynamics for effective site reconnaissance. With standoff Raman technology and remote-control capabilities, the integrated robot system can perform safe, remote chemical identification kilometers away from the team’s location. IBEX can find and identify tens of thousands of compounds and transmit instant risk assessment of hot zones. The sensor pack includes a chemical warfare agent (CWA) detector, radiological/nuclear detectors, and a combustible gas indicator. This type of integrated system can make a full scene assessment quickly and safely to help a team understand and mitigate threats from a distance.

IBEX gets the job done and keeps the team safe.

Contact your local Metrohm distributor for more information about IBEX.


Dr. Melissa Gelwicks

Technical Writer
Metrohm Raman, Laramie, Wyoming (USA)