What makes our technology outstanding?
About our technology and nir spectroscopy
NIR spectroscopy is a well-established technique used in labs worldwide. With our sensors based on organic semi-conductors we basically take this technique to the next application level.
In laboratories, spectroscopy is mainly used for high-end, cutting-edge research. The spectrometers used are very expensive, bulky and sensitive to vibrations. In addition, taking measurements is time consuming.
Our technology on the other hand is designed and optimized for everyday life applications. With us visible (VIS) and NIR spectroscopy becomes a small, lightweight, low-cost, robust and customizable solution, while at the same time being fast. That allows transforming the lab technology to a widespread mass market tool.
First, let’s have a look how spectroscopy in general works:
(1) The sample/apple is illuminated with a light source.
(2) The light waves are either being reflected or absorbed by the sample.
(3) A detector then detects the light waves reflected by or transmitted through the sample and translates them into data.
(4) This data is analyzed to read the optical “fingerprint” of the sample and therefore, to identify the material respectively the ingredients.
As mentioned above we are taking spectroscopy to the next application level. There are 4 main benefits of our technology. Our sensors:
- have a broad spectral coverage
- are fully customizable
- have a high flexibility
- are low-cost, powerful and mass market ready
Benefit #1: Broad spectral coverage
Capable of capturing selected wavelengths in the range of 400nm to 1800nm, our sensors can cover both the visible (VIS) as well as the near-infrared (NIR) spectrum with one integrated chip. In comparison: silicon, which is commonly used for spectroscopy, covers a spectrum from 400nm to only 1100nm.
But why is it a benefit to cover a broad spectrum? Let’s say you are in the packaging industry and you need to know if the cardboard has the right dryness. If it is too dry, it easily tears when folding it to e.g. boxes or lids. If it is too wet, it will flute. To minimize the waste and to be as efficient as possible you want to control dryness, respectively moisture during the production process.
Water shows two relevant absorption peaks between 400 and 1800 nm. One at 960nm and one at 1460 nm. As you can see the water band at 1460nm is much higher than the one at 960nm, providing more detailed information about the water content in a material.
In addition to water, there are many more use cases that need spectrometers covering wavelengths beyond the VIS spectrum, which also means beyond the spectrum covered by silicon.
For example, distinguishing different plastics like PET and PP for recycling or distinguishing textiles such as cotton, polyester or wool.
Benefit #2: Fully customizable, perfectly suiting your needs
Using our toolbox, you can mix and match the tools you need to develop your material sensing solution. Plus, our sensors are customizable too. The result is a sensor solution perfectly adapted to your application and your specific needs.
Let’s think about two everyday situations. A person with diabetes in the restaurant, meeting with friends and having a good time. She wants to order one of those delicious looking juices her friend is drinking. But how much sugar does it contain? Unfortunately, the waitress doesn’t know…
Another place, another situation: The farmer is on the field, the forecast shows good weather for the next few days. Should he harvest the wheat today or would it be better to wait a few more days? He is torn, because he doesn’t know exactly…
Those are 2 completely different situations. Both, the person with diabetes and the farmer, would love having the ability to see the amount of sugar in the juice, and the amount of water and protein in the wheat.
With our technology and our toolbox, this is possible!
You want us to do the work for you? Reach out to us, tell us what your requirements are, which substances and materials you want to measure and how the everyday use case looks like. We then build the sensor solution for you: a chip, covering the wavelengths you need, corresponding software and calibration models for your use case – all based on your requirements. Our technology allows us to build fully customized sensor chips regarding pixel count, wavelengths covered, size and more.
Regardless which way you choose, in the end, you get a highly customized sensor solution to either integrate in an existing measuring device or to develop a new one – be it for people with diabetes, for farmers or for your specific target group.
Benefit #3: Monolithic chip + smaller size = higher flexibility
Because our chip is monolithic and has no dispersive elements, optical or mechanical parts, the chip is robust against vibrations and shocks. In addition, it is small and flat – having the size and height of a 1 cent coin. Thus you can use it in a wide range of mobile and stationary devices, even in small and narrow ones with limited space.
For example, if you work in a garage you could use our chip integrated in a small measurement device to check if the coolant of your customers car needs to be changed. As a company offering home appliances, you could integrate our chip in your washing machine and help people in daily life to not shrink their wool sweater. With our chip integrated, they could easily check what fabric their clothing is made of and then get advice concerning the washing temperature, which laundry detergent to use and which washing program to choose.
Benefit #4: Low-cost, powerful and mass market ready
Every benefit mentioned above stands for itself and shows why our technology is great. But the combination of all the benefits makes it outstanding.
Since our sensors are based on organic electronics, they are low cost and powerful at the same time. Thus, they are ideally suited for mass market applications. This enables you to approach whole new markets and applications (B2B & B2C) and to create new business models.
In contrast to expensive lab equipment, our chip is available at a price point comparable to silicon-based chips. At the same time it covers a huge part of the spectral range of silicon plus the range of InGaAs.
That means, you have the broad spectrum from 400 nm to 1800 nm, covering VIS as well as NIR wavelengths. In addition our chip is very small and flat, allowing you to use it in a wide range of devices, even those with limited space. And all of this at a low price point.
Are you curious how to benefit from our technology and how to use it for your products? Contact us!