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4 November 2016

Osram presents first broadband infrared LED, paving way for smartphone-based food analytics by consumers

Osram Opto Semiconductors GmbH of Regensburg, Germany is using converter technology for infrared emitters for the first time, resulting in what it claims is the first broadband emitting infrared LED.

Emitting broadband infrared light in a wavelength range of 650-1050nm, the new SFH 4735 is mainly suitable as a light source for near-IR spectroscopy. Among the various applications nowadays is assessing the quality of food. Osram says that the new LED (which measures 3.75mm x 3.75mm x 0.7mm and spectral output of 60µW at 750nm and 30µW at 980nm) enables such sensor technology to move into the consumer sector, e.g. as an add-on for smartphones. The first mini spectrometers have already been showcased, and the new LED means that a compact light source is now available.

Measuring freshness with a smartphone

IR spectroscopy uses the characteristic absorption behavior of certain molecular compounds. If a defined spectrum is directed at a sample it is possible to determine the presence and quantity of certain ingredients from the wavelength distribution of the reflected light. This method is used in the food industry and in agriculture, among other sectors. For example, it is possible to measure the water, fat, carbohydrate, sugar or protein content of foodstuffs. This data provides an indication of freshness, quality or calorie content.

The new infrared LED opens this measurement technique up also to the consumer market. One option would be a compact sensor – like a USB stick – which would be used with an appropriate smartphone app to measure calories, freshness or nutritional content.

First converter for infrared emitters

The basis of the SFH 4735 is a blue chip (with a surface area of 1mm2) fabricated in Osram Opto's UX:3 technology. Its light is converted into IR radiation with the aid of a phosphor converter developed specifically for this application. A residual blue component in the light helps users target the area they want to investigate. The emission spectrum of the SFH 4735 has a homogeneous spectral distribution in the infrared range. The chip is mounted in the proven and compact Oslon Black Flat package, which is characterized in particular by good thermal resistance.

Food analytics supplements bio monitoring

Compact units for spectroscopic chemical analyses open up a new range of applications in consumer electronics, notes the firm. Experts expect that it will be possible in the near future to integrate spectrometers directly in mobile devices. The new technology is a natural extension of bio monitoring, i.e. the trend for measuring various vital signs such as pulse rate and calorie consumption. A smartphone spectrometer will enable users to monitor the food they eat in a similar manner. Medicines can also be checked in the same way.

"Future applications are also of particular interest," says Udo Jansen, product marketing manager for Infrared. "It is conceivable that the emission range can be extended to include wavelengths up to 2000nm, in other words into the middle infrared spectral range. This will allow more precise and detailed measurements and will open up new options for everyday analyses of certain environmental parameters such as air quality."

Tags: Osram IR LED

Visit: www.osram-os.com

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