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Materialytics Sequencing Station

Materialytics Sequencing Station (M2S®) comprises the specialized hardware, software, and procedures used in the physical analysis of a material.

When a sample is placed into the test chamber of an M2S instrument, a laser pours energy into a spot a few microns in diameter on its surface, so that a tiny amount of sample material is converted to a microplasma. As that plasma cools over a few microseconds, all elements in it emit light at characteristic wavelengths. That light is collected, and put through a spectrometer that records the amplitudes of energy at thousands of wavelengths across the visible spectrum, which can be displayed on a monitor, or printed out. The system in the Materialytics lab is equipped with a 40,000+ channel spectrometer. In a small pilot study, the process now evaluates over 500 million data points. Larger studies evaluate over 2 trillion.

Where those numbers come from: Each sample is ordinarily hit with “a few dozen” laser shots, say, six dozen - 72 shots. The spectrometer collects data in 40,000+ channels from each shot. A small pilot study might analyze 200 samples. 72 x 40,000 x 200 comes to 576,000,000 data points.


In contrast, conventional analysis methods may use a dozen or fewer data points.



Quantagenetics, is simply described as “the method of classifying materials automatically,” as well as, more technically, “the study of quantized energy as it relates to the origin and history of materials; in particular the study of photons released from a microplasma without regard for the identification of specific elements or molecules.” It is a new branch of the science of spectrographic analysis, which has been in use for hundreds of years.



Since some of the assumptions and methods of the new work cannot conveniently be discussed in conventional terms, a few new terms have been coined, including the name, Quantagenetics. “Quanta” simply suggests measurement, and “genetics” suggests the complex history of formation that each material carries in it.

Materials,” means any physical substance, from minerals to gases to manufactured parts.

Classifying” means examining a sample of material, and identifying it as belonging to a previously defined group of materials.

Automatically” means that Quantagenetics processing performs classification without any reliance on human judgment.

Identify the Source

The initial goal of the work was to identify the source of a sample of material (the mine it came from, the orchard it grew in, the factory where it was produced), using only objective comparisons of unclassified samples with a well-documented reference collection.

People naturally tend to classify materials into groups based on observed similarities and difference; e.g.:

  • Solids
  • Liquids
  • Gases

In Materialytics Analysis, classifications may be based on where the material was found; e.g.:

  • Emeralds from Afghanistan
  • Emeralds from Colombia
  • Emeralds from Tanzania

…or, on the level of processing a material has undergone; e.g.:

  • Treated emeralds
  • Synthetic emeralds
  • “Emeralds” made of glass

…or on legitimacy; e.g.:

  • Electronic components manufactured by name firms
  • Similarly marked electronic components manufactured in Ahuristan

…or on a set of parameters; e.g.:

  • Manufactured parts that meet quality standards
  • Manufactured parts that fail quality standards

Materials in each of these groups, and countless others, have something in common, and each is different in at least one respect from every other group.

Materialytics Analysis, using Quantagenetics, examines an unknown sample presented to it with no documentation, to discover what class it belongs to.

What Variables does Quantagenetics Look for?

The system does not look for specific variables. Potential variables number in the tens of thousands.

Quantagenetics does not take shortcuts, searching for specific indicators of similarity. All data from every unclassified sample is compared with all data from all samples in the Reference Collection without any biases or expectations.