Optical activity of organic and inorganic compounds is measured by a sensitive and non-destructive technique known as polarimetry. The quantity of optical rotation is identified by the concentration of chiral molecules and molecular structure of the substance. Optically active compounds are capable to change leaning of light waves. Hence, if an optically active compound is placed between two filters, it would rotate the polarized beam. An element of light would then be able to fall on the second filter. Some examples of optically active fluids are tartaric acid, lactic acid, sugars, and some biologically active compounds. Polarimeters measure the angle of rotation by which the beam of polarized light is distracted. Depending on design of the instrument, the second filter is then rotated (automatically or manually) till the light stops falling on the sensor/detector. The rotation angle and direction of rotation (anticlockwise or clockwise) offer a powerful technique for determining features of the optically active compound. Polarimetry gives information about concentration and molecular structure of the compound. Sometimes, it also gives information about the solvent used. Optical activity of the compound is also influenced by wavelength of the light beam, temperature, and length of the optical path. Compounds with longer optical path exhibit greater angle of rotation. These variables can be used to regulate sensitivity of the instrument.

Two nicol prisms (one working as an analyzer and the other as a polarizer) form a polarimeter. Only the analyzer nicol prism can rotate and the polarizer prism is fixed. These prisms can be assumed as slits S1 and S2. Waves of lights can be considered to correspond to waves in the string. S1 polarizer permits only single-plane-moving light waves and causes plane polarizing of the light. The analyzer located in a similar position allows only those light waves that are coming from the polarizer to pass through it. When the analyzer is rotated in the right angle, waves cannot come through it and the analyzer partially appears dark. If a glass tube, in which an optically active solution is filled, is placed between the analyzer and the polarizer; light rotates through the plane of polarization in a definite angle and the analyzer also rotates in the same angle.

Polarimeters are of several types such as manual polarimeter, semi-automatic polarimeter, fully automatic polarimeter, Laurent’s half-shade polarimeter, biquartz polarimeter, Lippich polarimeter, X-ray polarimeter, and Quartz-Wedge polarimeter. Advance research for development of new drug products, identification of new chemical entities, and the latest food and beverages testing methods are boosting the polarimeter market. A chemical compound can be toxic or non-toxic, depending on its type of isomer, which can be identified by using polarimeter. Thus, need for testing the toxicity of a compound is driving the polarimeter market. However, technical limitations associated with the polarimeter is a major restraint for the global polarimeter market.

The polarimeter market has been segmented on the basis of type of polarimeter, application of polarimeter, and geographical region. Based on type of polarimeter, the market has been classified into three major categories viz. automated polarimeter, semi-automated polarimeter, and manual polarimeter. Based on application, the market has been segmented into categories such as foods, pharmaceuticals, sugars & sweeteners, essential oils, flavors & fragrances, and chemicals. Based on geography, the polarimeter market can be segmented into five major regions viz. North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Major players operating in the global polarimeter market are Star Laboratories, Bellingham + Stanley (Xylem Inc.), Bante Instruments Limited, Ningbo Biocotek Scientific Instrument Co., Limited, Azzota Corporation, Hanon Instruments Co., Ltd., Rudolph Research Analytical,  A.KRUSS Optronic, Shanghai InsMark Instrument Technology Co., Ltd., ATAGO CO., LTD., Anton Paar GmbH, DigiPol Technologies, Schmidt+Haensch GmbH & Co., and Jasco.

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