While they’ve existed for 60 years, few realize the importance of near-infrared (NIR) spectrometers for measuring energy reflected from or through various materials.
NIR spectrometers help an array of industries -- agriculture, forensics, pharmaceuticals, petroleum, healthcare, and many more -- determine the molecular “fingerprint” of a substance.
NIR spectrometer technology has seen great advances in the past six decades. While early devices were cumbersome and confined to laboratories, current NIR spectrometers leverage microprocessor control, precision A/D sampling and computerized spectrum calculation with statistical analysis for rapid results in a variety of locations.
Today, NIR spectrometers have four main uses:
Today, the DLP products spectroscopy portfolio consists of two different chipsets that can be incorporated into modern NIR spectrometers. For ultra-mobile analysis, the DLP2010NIR digital micromirror device (DMD) supports programmable high-speed pattern rates up to 1,500 Hz for real-time measurements. This chip is the industry’s first fully programmable micro-electro mechanical systems (MEMS) optimized for wavelength ranges of 700 – 2500 nm. When paired with Bluetooth® and Bluetooth low energy-enabled DLP NIRscan™ Nano evaluation module (EVM), designers can easily prototype portable analyzers to accelerate the development of embedded ultra-mobile spectrometers.
For high-performance systems, the DLP4500NIR DMD, featuring over one million micromirrors, supports programmable high-speed pattern rates up to 4,225 Hz and is also optimized for wavelengths ranging from 700-2500 nm. The corresponding DLP NIRscan EVM enables a 30,000:1 signal-to-noise ratio for less than one second measurements, allowing for fast and accurate material analysis.
Ongoing advances in the field are enabling smaller, cost-efficient devices that could ultimately make the technology viable for consumers. Imagine a smartphone with a built in NIR spectrometer to evaluate foods for ripeness, detect food allergens, confirm purity of expensive olive oils, assist in medical monitoring or check automotive fluids. TI believes there’s a bright future in NIR spectroscopy. .
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