Researchers from the Institute of Electronic Nanosystems. Fraunhofer developed a spectrometer weighing only one gram.
A spectrometer is an analytical device whose operating principle is based on the accumulation, processing and analysis of the radiation spectrum. This spectrum is obtained by irradiating the sample and registering the emerging fluorescence. The length, frequency of waves, radiation intensity are measured.
Typically, spectrometers are bulky and expensive devices. However, the new infrared device weighs only about a gram. The authors of the development plan that the cost of one sample will cost less than € 1 in production. This will enable it to be integrated into smartphones. For comparison, infrared spectrometers now weigh several kilograms, and their production costs thousands of euros.
Of course, there are miniature handheld devices, but they are not suitable for the mass market – in terms of cost and size, they are also difficult to operate.
Like conventional infrared spectrometers, the device emits light beams in the infrared range. The light of different wavelengths is then fragmented using a tunable filter and directed to the detector using integrated waveguides. Lattice couplers with nanostructures collect light reflected from the sample into integrated waveguides. If it is necessary to check the air quality, the light enters a special absorption cell built into one plane.
Conventional spectrometers are composed of discrete, more or less well-integrated components. To reduce the size of the device, the scientists integrated beam guidance, separation of individual wavelengths and detection into a single plane.