Miniature Tech Could Improve Hazmat Detection

Image of reflections on a mobile phone

A team of scientists in Europe have produced a proof-of-concept device that could improve such things as hazardous materials detection and air monitoring.

The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology reported that scientists at Empa, ETH Zurich, EPFL, the University of Salamanca, Spain, the European Space Agency and the University of Basel “has built a proof-of-concept miniaturized Fourier-transform waveguide spectrometer that incorporates a sub-wavelength photodetector as a light sensor, consisting of colloidal mercury telluride quantum dot and compatible with complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor technology.”

The findings appeared in a recent issue of Nature Photonics.

Also Read: NIOSH: Why Firefighters Must Understand Multi-Gas Monitor Readings

This technology is centered on the miniaturization of infrared spectrometers. The ultra-compact spectrometer design will allow optical analytical measurement instruments to be placed in handheld or wearable devices.

It will, the author Rainer Klose wrote, “lead to their wider use in consumer electronics, such as smartphones enabling food control, the detection of hazardous chemicals, air pollution monitoring and wearable electronics.

“They can be used for the quick and easy detection of certain chemicals without using laboratory equipment. Moreover, they can be useful for the detection of counterfeit medical drugs as well as of greenhouse gases such as methane and CO2.”

There was no indication on the timeline for when this technology might reach the buying public.

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