Frequently Asked Questions

What resources would be required, in terms of time, staffing, and money, for my company to create a custom database?
To provide an estimate, Materialytics® requires specific information regarding the scope of a project. Creation of a useful custom database often takes months, at times, more than a year. As with any large undertaking, the project must have a champion within your organization that is willing to work closely with Materialytics and be an internal liaison. It is a commitment that requires a significant amount of time. Clearly, this is not a casual undertaking; however, the potential ROI may make this an attractive endeavor.
What types of materials does M2S® work on?
So far, M2S has worked with every type of material we have tested, including such things as gold, tin, titanium, alloys and many gems. We are now running pilot studies on manufactured parts, meteorites, apples, oranges, pharmaceuticals, even coffee beans and chocolate.
How long has Materialytics® been in business?
The organization began as an academic research activity in 2002. In 2007, that activity was taken over by a privately funded R&D group, and operated with an informal structure until 2011, when Materialytics, LLC. was formed as an independent company.
Can we send samples to Materialytics for testing?
Materialytics is not a commercial testing laboratory. We partner with organizations to find solutions to their operational challenges. Once a relationship is established, Materialytics will run initial testing in our lab. Ultimately, those organizations set up their own testing facilities in house. Other arrangements can be made on a conditional basis.
Have your researchers published anything?
Materialytics staff have published a small number of papers, and made poster presentations at industry conferences. You will find links to some of those publications on the News and Resources page on the Materialytics website. More presentations and papers will appear in the course of time, but, as a non-academic research group, we are not under pressure to publish.
How can M2S® identify the provenance of such samples as rubies and diamonds that have been washed from their original sites of formation into alluvial deposits, sometimes far distant from the sites at which they were formed?
There are indeed two key questions: a) where were the samples formed? and b) where were they collected? Given enough data, the site of formation can be determined with high confidence. It has been suggested that after a stone has been lodged in a gravel bank for centuries or millennia, it has probably acquired a thin coating of material that is distinctly characteristic of that site. We are currently working to see if it is true and if it can be detected.
What type of Optical Emission Spectroscopy (OES) machine do you use? Is it available for purchase?
There are multiple commercial OES systems available for purchase from a variety of companies. We use a proprietary, custom system built by one of the leading manufactures in the industry.
How can M2S® be used in industry?
By the time a manufactured product is ready to leave the factory, it has undergone a number of expensive steps and repeated inspections. Significant expenditure can be avoided if problems are detected early, rather than late in manufacturing. M2S can help by detecting anomalies in raw or partially processed materials very early in the manufacturing process. In some cases, we expect it to detect substandard or counterfeit components that are being assembled into products. Each application of M2S will require a well-designed program to establish baseline for reference, so that test results are meaningful. The ROI may be very attractive.
Has Materialytics received government research contracts or grants?