Infrared (IR) spectroscopic imaging seemingly matured as a technology in the mid-2000s, with commercially successful instrumentation and reports in numerous applications. Recent developments, however, have transformed our understanding of the recorded data, provided capability for new instrumentation, and greatly enhanced the ability to extract more useful information in less time. These developments are summarized here in three broad areas—data recording, interpretation of recorded data, and information extraction—and their critical review is employed to project emerging trends. Overall, the convergence of selected components from hardware, theory, algorithms, and applications is one trend. Instead of similar, general-purpose instrumentation, another trend is likely to be diverse and application-targeted designs of instrumentation driven by emerging component technologies. The recent renaissance in both fundamental science and instrumentation will likely spur investigations at the confluence of conventional spectroscopic analyses and optical physics for improved data interpretation. While chemometrics has dominated data processing, a trend will likely lie in the development of signal processing algorithms to optimally extract spectral and spatial information prior to conventional chemometric analyses. Finally, the sum of these recent advances is likely to provide unprecedented capability in measurement and scientific insight, which will present new opportunities for the applied spectroscopist.
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