Slim-format spectrometer

Year 2004
Project team Vladimir Bulovic

Improving field applications

The proposed technology, a compact, rugged, inexpensive optical spectrometer, would greatly improve the performance of field applications like point-of-care medical devices, food analyzers, color sensors, field-installed chemical and environmental sensors, and personal environmental monitors. Today’s most compact spectrometers use silicon photodetector arrays capped with expensive interference bandpass filters that make these devices commercially impractical. The proposed approach alleviates the need for expensive optical components (e.g. lenses, gratings) and intricate assembly during manufacturing. At the same time, the vastly reduced number of components and their complexity enhances the ruggedness of the device. Current compact spectrometers cost thousands of dollars and, in nearly all cases, are the size of portable computers. The slim-format spectrometer would enable devices the size of handheld PDAs and costing hundreds of dollars.