Imagine pointing your smartphone at a salty snack you found at the back of your pantry and immediately knowing if its ingredients had turned rancid.
Devices called spectrometers can detect dangerous chemicals based on a unique “fingerprint” of absorbed and emitted light. But these light-splitting instruments have long been both bulky and expensive, preventing their use outside the lab.
Until now. Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a spectrometer that is so small and simple that it could integrate with the camera of a typical cell phone without sacrificing accuracy.
The researchers published a description of the devices March 4, 2019, in the journal Nature Communications.
“This is a compact, single-shot spectrometer that offers high resolution with low fabrication costs,” says Zhu Wang, who was the first author on the paper.
The team’s devices also have an advanced capability called hyperspectral imaging, which collects information about each individual pixel in an image order to identify materials or detect specific objects amidst a complicated background. Hyperspectral sensing, for example, could be used to detect seams of valuable minerals within rock faces or to identify specific plants in a highly vegetated area.
Every element’s spectral fingerprint includes unique emitted or absorbed wavelengths of light—and the spectrometer’s ability to sense that light is what has enabled researchers to do everything from analyze the composition of unknown compounds to reveal the makeup of distant stars.
Spectrometers usually rely on prisms or gratings to split light emitted from an object into discrete bands—each corresponding to a different wavelength. A camera’s photodetector can capture and analyze those bands; for example, the spectral fingerprint of the element sodium consists of two bands with wavelengths of 589 and 590 nanometers.
Human eyes see 590-nanometer wavelength light as a yellowish-orange shade. Shorter wavelengths correspond to blues and purples, whereas longer wavelengths appear red. Sunlight contains a complete rainbow mixed together, which we see as white.
To resolve the difference among a mixture of different colors, spectrometers usually must be relatively large with a long path length for light beams to travel and separate.
Yet the team created tiny spectrometers, measuring just 200 micrometers on each side (roughly one-20th the area of a ballpoint pen tip) and delicate enough to lie directly on a sensor from a typical digital camera.
That small size was possible because the researchers based their device on specially designed materials that forced incoming light to bounce back and forth several times before reaching the sensor. Those internal reflections elongated the path along which light traveled without adding bulk, boosting the devices’ resolution.
And the devices performed hyperspectral imaging, resolving two distinct images (of the numbers five and nine) from a snapshot of an overlaid projection that combined the pair into something indistinguishable to the naked eye.
Now the team hopes to boost the device’s spectral resolution as well as the clarity and crispness of the images it captures. Those improvements could pave the way for even more enhanced sensors.
The Latest on: Spectrometers
via Google News
The Latest on: Spectrometers
- Silk-based sensor analyses sweat biomarkers in real timeon November 12, 2019 at 1:41 am
A semi-flexible patch made from a silk-derived carbon material is as accurate as commercial high-performance mass spectrometers at detecting certain biomarkers in sweat, say researchers in China.
- Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometers Market Insights and Global Outlook During 2019-2025on November 11, 2019 at 9:04 am
Nov 11, 2019 (Market Insight Reports via COMTEX) -- The Atomic Fluorescence Spectrometers Market recently Published Global Market research study with more than 100 industry informative desk and ...
- Journal Highlight: Identification of opioids and related substances using handheld Raman spectrometerson October 29, 2019 at 2:12 am
Lanzarotta, A., Witkowski, M. and Batson, J. (2019). Identification of opioids and related substances using handheld Raman spectrometers. Journal of Forensic Sciences online Abstract: This study ...
- Liquid Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometers (LC/MS) Combined Supplierson October 26, 2019 at 5:00 pm
ISO 9001:2008 or ISO 13485:2003 & ISO 14001:2004 certified manufacturer of combined liquid chromatograph-mass spectrometers (LC/MS). Products such as mass spectrometers, NMR spectrometers, automation ...
- Dispersive Spectrometerson October 25, 2019 at 3:52 am
As the name suggests, dispersive spectrometers generate spectra by optically dispersing the incoming radiation into its frequency or spectral components, as illustrated in the figure below. Common ...
- Broadcom Spectrometers – Measurement and Analysis using Optical Technologyon October 23, 2019 at 5:00 pm
In this webinar, you will learn about the technology and different package options available and how to integrate Broadcom spectrometers into your design. Broadcom´s compact spectroscopy has excellent ...
- Spectrometers Suppliers serving Southern New Jerseyon October 21, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Distributor of new & used or reconditioned spectrometers. Other products such as arsine & phosphine monitors, flat panel display test systems, contour projectors, bench top tensile testers, optical ...
- StellarNet eXtreme spectrometers improve LED sortingon September 10, 2019 at 5:00 pm
In order to have uniform lightning, it is important for LEDs to match exactly in color. LED sorting machines are using extremely fast fiber optic spectrometers with millisecond timeframes for color ...
- Global Molecular Analysis Spectrometers Market Report 2019: Portability Drives Opportunities to 2025on September 9, 2019 at 10:04 am
DUBLIN, Sept. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Global Molecular Analysis Spectrometers Market, Forecast to 2025" report has been added to ResearchAndMarkets.com's offering. The global molecular analytical ...
- Single-nanowire spectrometerson September 6, 2019 at 12:14 pm
1 Cambridge Graphene Centre, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0FA, UK. 2 Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0FA, UK. 3 Shanghai Key Laboratory of Modern Optical ...
via Bing News