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Agilent, formerly Cobalt Light Systems, offers a game-changing new capability in handheld detection & ID - using proprietary SORS technology to identify hazardous materials through sealed opaque containers

Through-Barrier Raman ID

Early identification of the contents of potentially hazardous objects is key to improving safety, efficiency and critical decision making in Hazmat incident management, first response, EOD, law enforcement, and screening at ports and borders.

A new capability developed by Cobalt, handheld through-barrier Raman ID enables operators to positively identify hazardous materials through opaque barriers. Removing the need to open or disturb containers means;

  • Hazards are contained, reducing the risk to operators and the public
  • Objects can be examined quickly and efficiently – less time spent in protective gear
  • Evidence is more easily preserved
  • Better informed critical decisions can be made earlier in the operation

Conventional handheld Raman devices are typically restricted to line-of-sight measurements, which may include some translucent materials such as clear plastics. Our SORS technology extends this capability to most non-metallic containers, including coloured and opaque plastics, paper, card, sacks, fabric and glass.

Handheld SORS

Cobalt's proprietary Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) technology is a unique way to analyse objects when the contents is behind non-transparent layers or container materials.

SORS has a proven record as the engine used for through-barrier chemical identification in Cobalt's Insight Range of Liquid Explosive Detection Systems (LEDS), and in Cobalt's RapID system for raw materials ID verification in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Zero offset and spatially offset measurements produce a clean contents spectrum

Zero offset and spatially offset measurements produce a clean contents spectrum

The miniturisation of SORS technology has enabled the recent development of a handheld SORS device, which now allows through-barrier capabilities to be extended to handheld applications.


Resolve is Cobalt's latest innovation - A handheld SORS system that detects and identifies chemicals through opaque non-metallic barriers. Resolve uses comprehensive libraries to accurately identify materials in ~1 minute (or less in some modes of operation). The system works in through-barrier, surface scan or vial holder modes and can also be used for non-contact measurements. Resolve can be used to identify hazardous and contraband materials, including;

  • Explosives and explosive precursors
  • Toxic industrial chemicals
  • Narcotics
  • Chemical warfare agents
  • Household products and less commonly-used chemicals

The system identifies mixtures as well as pure chemicals.