Agilent Technologies 4300 Handheld FTIR Spectrometer

CobaltNiche and Agilent Technologies
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About the project

A world leader in mobile FTIR technology, Agilent’s latest handheld instrument offers unsurpassed and highly sophisticated FTIR scanning performance, in a light-weight (2kg), ergonomic and portable product – providing immediate analysis results in the field. CobaltNiche and Agilent Technologies have worked together closely to develop the highly integrated product assembly, balancing; internal technology, heat dissipation, air flow and sealing performance, ergonomic and centre of gravity requirements, and the mechanical design detailing of over 20 injection moulded casing parts. Straddling the boundary between sleek laboratory instrument and outdoor measurement tool, CobaltNiche developed a design language that concealed casing fasteners in a sophisticated solution.

Why it works

The 4300 FTIR’s ergonomics and balanced packaging support its effectiveness in a range of out-of-lab applications. The device’s mid-infrared molecular spectroscopy technology can analyse a range of materials, including; polymers, coatings, composites, geological samples, soil, bulk materials including powders and granules, and even historical artefacts and artwork.

Such a flexible technology required an equally functional housing and user interface to ensure its success. CobaltNiche was instrumental in the development and implementation of several features fundamental to the usability of the product, including; a pivoting touchscreen interface, and a multipart battery housing that supports ‘hot swap’ functionality (enabling more hours of continuous device use).


In developing an instrument intended for use throughout an entire work day, a key insight was the importance of grip ergonomics and the product’s centre of gravity in making the product user friendly for an extended period of time. Optimisation of mass through detailed design and engineering could reduce product weight only so far. Whilst the lightest product of its kind anywhere in the world, the 2kg weight still posed challenges when used for an extended period. Through the configuration of internal technology, and iterative prototype development, CobaltNiche and Agilent Technologies have optimised the product’s centre of gravity and ergonomics, minimising user fatigue and discomfort during periods of extended use.