12-Apr-2022 - Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik (IAF)

Inline-capable spectroscopic 100% inspection for industrial quality assurance and process control

Fraunhofer IAF presents QCL-based measurement system

Ensuring quality without losing time: Companies from the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industry in particular depend on meeting the highest quality requirements while at the same time optimizing production processes. For such applications, Fraunhofer IAF has developed an integrable measurement system in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics. It uses machine vision to specifically detect samples and verify them contact-free within a few milliseconds using laser-based infrared spectroscopy.

With an inline-capable, laser-based infrared spectroscopy measurement system, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF want to support industrial companies from the pharmaceutical, chemical and food industry in making quality assurance measures and process controls more reliable and at the same time more efficient. The system is characterized by a flexible design and a high spectral scanning speed that allows it to be integrated into existing visual inspection systems, enabling full spectroscopic inspection.

“The measurement system vividly demonstrates the great benefit of laser-based infrared spectroscopy for industrial sectors in which products have to be verified or differentiated reliably and quickly,” emphasizes Dr. Marko Härtelt, responsible project manager at Fraunhofer IAF.

Mid-infrared backscattering spectroscopy by QCL and MOEMS grating scanner

The specific advantages of the system result from the backscattering spectroscopy method in the mid-infrared with wavelengths in the range of 4 to 12 μm. Since molecular compounds have very characteristic absorption and emission lines in this spectral range, they can be clearly identified.

One of the core components of the measurement system is a broad-emitting and spectrally fast-scanning laser module. It combines quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) from Fraunhofer IAF and micro-opto-electro-mechanical grating scanners (MOEMS) from the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS. The high brilliance of the light source and the unique properties of the MOEMS scanner enable infrared spectroscopy at a rate of one kilohertz.

In the analysis of the measurement results, a neural network supports the system to drastically minimize the error rate and at the same time the required measurement time.

Demonstration of industrial use at LASER World of PHOTONICS 2022

To illustrate the measurement system’s ability to be integrated into industrial processes, the Fraunhofer IAF team has developed a practical demonstrator: A conveyor belt moves twelve identical-looking tablets in a common tablet blister. The device recognizes the blister contents contactlessly in just 300 milliseconds. The results of the detection for each individual tablet are immediately displayed on the connected screen so that contaminated or defectively loaded specimens can be sorted out.

Fraunhofer IAF will present the demonstrator of its QCL-based measurement system at this year’s LASER World of PHOTONICS trade fair in Munich from April 26 to 29, 2022 (Hall A6, Booth 441).

Facts, background information, dossiers
More about Fraunhofer-Institut IAF
  • News

    Highly sensitive quantum magnetometers on their way to industry

    Fraunhofer IAF develops quantum magnetometers based on diamond. They are able to detect magnetic fields with a spatial resolution of a few nanometers down to single electron and nuclear spins. Due to the physical material properties, diamond quantum magnetometers operate at room temperature ... more

    Fingerprint spectroscopy within a millisecond

    To guarantee high quality pharmaceuticals, manufacturers need not only to control the purity and concentration of their own products, but also those of their suppliers. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF have developed a measuring system capable of i ... more

    On-site detection of hazardous substances

    Together with partners from research and industry, Fraunhofer IAF has developed a hand-held scanner for hazardous substances within the EU project CHEQUERS. The sensor detects explosive, toxic and other dangerous substances in real time and will help emergency personnel with on-site detecti ... more

More about Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
  • News

    Changing shapes at the push of a button

    Programmable materials are true shapeshifters. They can change their characteristics in a controlled and reversible way with the push of a button, independently adapting to fit new conditions. They can be used, for example, to make comfy chairs or mattresses that prevent bedsores. To produc ... more

    From a greenhouse gas to an industrial raw material

    Rather than being released into the atmosphere and exacerbating the problem of climate change, CO2 can also be used as a raw material for substances required in industrial processes, such as formic acid or methanol. The conversion of CO2 has already been investigated in detail in laboratory ... more

    The bat is the godfather of digital transformation

    Digital simulations instead of trial and error: In the PaintVisco project, researchers at the IPA are modeling the development and processing of paints. The data for this is provided by a newly designed rheometer, which for the first time can be used to precisely measure the viscoelastic pr ... more

  • Research Institutes

    Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V.

    Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organization. Our research efforts are geared entirely to people’s needs: health, security, communication, energy and the environment. As a result, the work undertaken by our researchers and developers has a significant impact on ... more