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Future looks brighter for infrared analysis

By Rod Addy , 23-Jan-2013

FOSS is engaged in a 15m kroner research project focusing on developing a much brighter form of infrared light for routine analysis in food and feed production.

The ‘Light & Food’ project, which is funded by the Danish high technology fund, will investigate how laser-generated infrared light can improve analysis results.

The project is led by Copenhagen University’s department of food quality and technology and will run for the next four years.

Thomas Nikolajsen, senior scientist for FOSS, which specialises in providing analytical solutions to ensure quality and processing control across several industries, said: ”With this cooperation, FOSS can take part in the development of an exciting technology that can lead to new applications beyond our current offerings.

Strengthens collaboration

“It also strengthens our ongoing collaboration with the leading research and development work taking place in Denmark." 

The study will investigate the potential of a new type of laser that delivers a near infrared light, which is up to one million times brighter than conventional infrared.

The laser has been developed in collaboration between Aarhus University iNANO/chemistry, DTU Photonic and NKT Photonics A/S.

Challenges

One of the challenges facing scientists developing the technology is how to prevent the light source from damaging samples as a result of its greater strength.

Professor Søren Englesen of Copenhagen University’s food quality and technology department, claimed Denmark had played a leading role in using analytical tools such as infrared spectroscopy for advanced food quality and production control for many years.

"Now we are going to develop a second-generation instrument that can monitor food production with a new level of detail, to the benefit of industry and consumers."

New innovation centre

FOSS already has a centre for product production and development in Hilleroed, Denmark. The company said it now plans to move into a new innovation centre in the city to build on future new product development (NPD).

FOSS claims to invest at least 8% of its turnover in NPD annually. It said it spends 3m kroner every year on collaboration with universities.

The organisation offers analytical tools and services for the agricultural, food, pharmaceutical and chemical sectors.