Shining a Light on Microplastics: Providing Tools for Informed Environmental Action

microplastics in sand

Microplastics, small plastic particles originating from plastic waste, are a pervasive global environmental problem. Microplastic particles are now found almost everywhere on Earth: in water, air, soil, snow, food, beverages, marine animals, and even in human bodies. This talk will outline the scope of the problem, the risks to human and animal health, and discuss various technologies for characterizing microplastics, with the goal of trying to find paths to combat and mitigate the impacts of microplastics. The presentation will include a specific discussion of photothermal infrared spectroscopy, a technique first commercialized in Santa Barbara, for the characterization and analysis of microplastics in the environment and consumer products.

Craig Prater 23

Dr. Craig Prater, co-founder and CTO of Photothermal Spectroscopy

Dr. Prater has been involved in the development and commercialization of novel techniques for micro/nanoscale materials characterization for over 30 years. He was the 2023 recipient of the Williams-Wright Award for significant contributions to the field of spectroscopy while working in industry. In 2018, Dr. Prater co-founded Photothermal Spectroscopy Corporation (, a Santa Barbara company that has pioneered the field of photothermal infrared spectroscopy. Prior to this, Dr. Prater served as a visionary leader in research, product engineering, and technology development for Digital Instruments, Veeco Metrology, and Anasys Instruments in the fields of atomic force microscopy and nanoscale IR spectroscopy. Despite being employed in industry for >30 years, he has co-authored 140 scientific and trade publications and patents with over 10,000 citations. Dr. Prater received his PhD in physics from UCSB in 1992..

Virtual Attendance: 1


Community West Bank Conference Room, and Zoom

445 Pine Avenue
Goleta CA 93117

Presented by:

Dr. Craig Prater

Photothermal Spectroscopy

co-founder and CTO