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Researchers develop new spectrometer to evaluate food quality

FBR Staff Writer Published 03 May 2012

Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems ( Fraunhofer IPMS ) in Dresden, Germany have developed a new spectrometer which can help consumers evaluate the quality of food before they purchase it.

The new spectrometer, which is 30% smaller than a sugar cube and thus significantly more compact than the currently available counterparts, could be installed in a smartphone in the future.

According to researchers, in the future, consumers would just have to hold the smartphone near the food product, launch the corresponding app, and select the food type from the menu, and the device measures the amount of water, sugar, starch, fat and protein present, and makes the recommendation whether to buy the product or not.

The device is capable of screening several centimeters below the surface of the food product and can also take measurements even if a thin packaging film is present on the food product.

The new infrared spectrometer works by focusing a broad-bandwidth of light on the food product, and based on the product composition, various wavelengths of lights are reflected in the near infrared range with different intensities.

By examining the resulting spectrum, scientists can know the amount of substances present in the product.

The new device could be ready to be introduced into the market in three to five years.

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