By OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Inc 39
Osram Opto Semiconductors' OSLON Black and SYNIOS infrared families are the world's first broadband emitting infrared LEDs. These components are ideally suited as a light source for near-infrared spectroscopy, making them useful for a variety of applications, including assessing the quality of food. This development from Osram enables this sensor technology to move into the consumer sector, for example as an add-on for smartphones. The first mini spectrometers have already been showcased, and these LEDs mean that a compact light source is now available. Infrared spectroscopy uses the characteristic absorption behavior of certain molecular compounds. If a defined spectrum is directed at a sample, it is possible to determine the presence and quantity of certain ingredients from the wavelength distribution of the reflected light. This method is used in the food industry and agriculture, among other sectors. It is possible, for example, to measure the water, fat, carbohydrate, sugar, or protein content of foodstuffs. This data provides an indication of freshness, quality, or calorie content.
These infrared LEDs open this measurement technique up for the consumer market. One option would be a compact sensor, like a USB stick, which would be used with an appropriate smartphone app to measure calories, freshness, or nutritional content.
Compact units for spectroscopic chemical analyses open a range of applications in consumer electronics. Experts expect that in the future it will be possible to integrate spectrometers directly in mobile devices. The technology is a natural extension of biomonitoring, which is the trend for measuring various vital signs such as pulse rate and calorie consumption. Similarly, a smartphone spectrometer will enable users to monitor the food they eat or check the medicines they use.