Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy is a technique used in labs worldwide. Want to know more about the technology and how it works? Find it out in our blog post “What is spectroscopy?”
Basically, spectroscopy is mainly used in the laboratories for high-end cutting-edge research. The spectrometers used are very expensive, bulky and sensitive to vibrations. In addition, measurements are time consuming.
Instead, our technology 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.
Let’s look at the benefits of our technology in more detail.
Benefit #1: Broad spectral coverage
Capable of capturing light from 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 contain in a material.
In addition to water, there are much more use cases that need spectrometers covering wavelengths beyond the VIS spectrum, respectively 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 fitting your 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 drinks. But how much sugar is in there? Unfortunately, the waitress doesn’t know…
Another place, another situation: The farmer is on the field, the forecast shows good weather for the next 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, respectively the amount of water and protein in the wheat.
With our technology, this is possible!
It allows us to build fully customized sensor chips regarding pixel count, wavelengths covered, size and more to perfectly fit your needs and requirements. What does that mean for you? You tell us how your requirements look like, which substances and materials you want to measure and how the everyday use case looks like. Then we build up 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.
In the end, you get a highly customized sensor solution to either integrate it in an existing measuring device or to develop a new one – be it for people with diabetes, for farmers or your specific target group.
Benefit #3: Less components + 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 low – having the size and height of a 1 cent coin. So you can use it in a wide range of mobile and stationary devices, even in small and narrow ones where space is limited.
For example, if you work in a garage you could use our chip in a small, handy measurement device to quickly check if the coolant is about to be changed or if it is still okay. As a home appliances company you can 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 clothes are made of and then get advice concerning washing temperature, which laundry detergent to use and which washing program to choose.
Benefit #4: Low-cost and mass market ready
Every benefit stands for itself and shows why our technology is great. But the combination of the benefits makes it outstanding.
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 low, 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!