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Block Introduces LaserBench™ – World's First QCL Spectrometer Compatible with FTIR Accessories

Marlborough, MA – March 8, 2012

Block Engineering, the leader in Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) instrumentation, announced today the introduction of the LaserBench™ Spectrometer, a next generation benchtop QCL spectrometer for the laboratory. LaserBench is styled as a conventional spectrometer with a sample compartment designed to accommodate standard FTIR accessories. In this format, the QCL spectrometer expands the role of infrared spectroscopy for analytical and metrology applications without additional costs to the end-user by leveraging existing accessories currently used in the laboratory.

During the past three decades, FTIR has become the standard for infrared spectroscopy due to its ability to handle a broad range of sample types. Despite this flexibility, many FTIR experiments are limited by throughput and optical performance. LaserBench removes these limitations by providing the advantages of higher spectral power using QCL technology, while also offering flexible sample handling with its use of standard FTIR accessories. LaserBench has a small footprint with a purgeable sample compartment designed to accept center-focus FTIR accessories. Like most FTIR instruments, the accessories are mounted on a pre-aligned base plate that can be readily interchanged on a "plug-and-play" basis.

"Over the past 50 years, I have seen the various evolutions of infrared spectroscopic instrumentation. The option to have a broadly tunable infrared laser-based light source has long been the spectroscopist's dream," said Dr. John Coates, President of Coates-Consulting, LLC. and renowned expert in infrared spectroscopy. "This dream has now become reality and I look forward to being able to meet the challenges of demanding applications."

"The LaserBench Spectrometer is a great engineering accomplishment and demonstrates the versatility and flexibility of our QCL technology," added Dr. Erik Deutsch, Block's Vice President of Engineering. "Such seamless integration with FTIR standard accessories is now opening the door to numerous applications and allows our customers to evaluate their concepts prior to full deployment into field, handheld, or online applications."

The LaserBench Spectrometer provides superior performance for all energy-constrained applications, including micro-sampling, low optical transmission samples, such as carbon-filled polymers and composites, and all forms of reflectance measurements, whether specular, diffuse or ATR, and for specialized applications that are energy-starved or present challenging optical interfacing, such as fiber-optics. Anticipated applications range from trace contaminants of surfaces to challenging highly absorbing compounds as encountered in several applications, such as heterogeneous catalysis studies.

About Block Engineering LLC:

Founded in 1956, Block Engineering, LLC is a leading manufacturer and marketer of high performance Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) and FTIR spectrometers for military, government, commercial, and industrial customers. Block's Mobile Chemical Agent Detector (MCAD) system is a fixed site, passive FTIR spectrometer offered in partnership with Northrop Grumman Corp. Block's PORTHOS™ is a portable, passive FTIR spectrometer system that remotely detects chemical threats as far as three miles and protects against chemical warfare agents and weapons of mass destruction. Block Engineering is also manufacturing and selling a line of unique QCL-based spectrometers, including the LaserScan Analyzer, for applications ranging from detection of explosives and liquid/solid chemical warfare agents to control of manufacturing operations and verification of surface conditions in a variety of industrial processes.

About Block MEMS LLC:

Block MEMS, LLC is an engineering and development company focusing on the R&D of high performance Quantum Cascade Lasers (QCLs) and FTIR spectrometers for military and government customers. Following the success of its commercial-off-the-shelf passive FTIR products, such as MCAD and PORTHOS, Block MEMS has applied its extensive knowledge of spectroscopy and chemical detection towards the development of its high performance QCL based spectrometers, including LaserScan™. LaserScan has attracted high interest in the Department of Defense for detection of explosives and liquid/solid chemical warfare agents. In addition, Block MEMS is developing a revolutionary MEMS-based, miniaturized spectrometer, ChemPen™, which is a low cost, FTIR chemical gas detector the size of a fountain pen.

Block MEMS and Block Engineering are affiliated through common ownership and share headquarters in Marlborough, Massachusetts, USA.