Ultrasmall MEMS FTIR Spectrometer
Since September 2008 the European joint research project "MEMFIS" has been setting new standards in the field of infrared spectroscopy. The EU project aims to introduce small, robust and hand-held mid-infrared analyzers. With this portable and for consumers affordable technical device it will be possible even for laymen to, for instance, definent he composition of polluted gases or groceries.
Motivation:The project aims at introducing small, robust and easy to use mid-infrared analysers, which would be widely usable at an affordable price. The demand for such devices is fuelled by the increasing need for powerful and intelligent, yet easy to use and affordable spectroscopic analysers. Current FT-IR spectrometers are large, usually static, and are operated by qualified personnel. Assembly of these instruments is labour intensive and therefore expensive. The output of these spectrometers are spectral data and hence further expert knowledge is needed to interpret and evaluate the results. MEMFIS collaborative research will overcome current technical challenges by developing miniaturised, widely practically applicable and cost-effective FT-spectrometer modules. These modules will enable the industry to take advantage of various potential benefits of a new generation sensor, which span from protecting environment to increasing the quality of life and of industrial production.
Objectives:The MEMFIS project addresses size and power requirements of MEMS-technology and recent achievements in electronic design to develop a miniaturised Fourier-Transform MIR spectrometer. The key research eff ort dealing with the development of these components is expected to result in unique MEMS devices capable of reliable operation. An integrated control and chemometrics module converts the spectroscopic data into concentrations. The resulting compact, robust and economical analysers can be deployed in a large number of roles, such as minimally invasive medical diagnostics, environmental and workplace monitoring, industrial real-time process control and even security applications.
Project Results and Innovation:The MEMFIS project targets to progress well beyond the state of the art:
- Miniaturisation of FT-IR spectrometers by about one order of magnitude. It is expected that the MEMFIS concept will lead to an extremely rugged and reliable device, which will be based on integration of maintenance-free micro optical interferometer system for the mid-IR range, high scanning frequency, compactness and low power.
- Reduction of the measuring time of FT-IR spectrometers to ms time resolution in direct scanning mode. The MEMFIS instrument aims at outperforming all FT-IR spectrometers that are currently commercially available by reducing considerably the time used for acquiring a scan.
- Development and application-oriented optimisation of novel translational photonic MEMS devices and concepts. Compared to conventional systems, the use of optical MEMS opens the possibility to produce small and reliable systems in a large quantity at competitive production costs.
- Prototype proof of principle and feasibility of an autonomously operating smart micro-FT-IR analyser/sensor, including the implementation of chemometric models and stable data processing algorithms.
The developed fully spectroscopic analysers are expected to play a key role in label-free detection of a wide range of substances – for example medical diagnostics of body fluids and tissues as well as in environmental and workspace monitoring. Furthermore, the analyser could be used to assess the quality of nutrition, pharmaceutical and food products in addition to facilitating process control during production to evaluate the effectiveness
Consortium:The MEMFIS consortium brings together Europe’s leading companies and research institutions in the area of optical subassemblies and analysers. The partners represent vertically integrated consortium, spanning from basic research to application development and production.
The MEMFIS project aims to bring together the strengths of each partner to take a significant step forward in the smart spectroscopy sensors, microsystems technology and vibrational spectroscopy in general. In order to guarantee the broad competence and the representation of key players of the analyser value chain, the MEMFIS project is pursued on European level.