Osram Debuts IR LED for Food Analysis

Imagine using your smartphone to analyze your breakfast, lunch and evening meal. Now you can, thanks to the new broadband infrared LED from Osram Opto Semiconductors. The company is using converter technology for infrared emitters for the first time. The result is an LED that emits broadband infrared light in a wavelength range from 650 to 1,050 nanometers (nm), opening up infrared spectrometry for 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.

Infrared spectroscopy makes use of 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. It is possible, for example, to measure the water, fat, carbohydrate, sugar or protein content of foodstuffs. The data also provides an indication of freshness, quality or calorie content. 

Osram Opto launches IR LED SFH 4735 that can be used in sensors to detect food quality and show analyses results on a smartphone. (All photos courtesy of Osram Opto)

First converter for infrared emitters with the SFH 4735, Osram Opto Semiconductors has succeeded in producing the world’s first broadband emitting infrared LED. The component is ideally suited as a light source for near-infrared spectroscopy which can be used, among other things, for determining the quality of food. This new development from Osram enables this sensor technology to move into the consumer sector, for example as an add-on for smartphones. The basis of the SFH 4735 is a blue 1 mm2 chip in UX:3 technology. Its light is converted into infrared 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. 

Osram Opto Semiconductors SFH 4735 IR LED.

Food analytics supplement bio monitoring Compact units for spectroscopic chemical analyses open up a completely new range of applications in consumer electronics. 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, in other words 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.

The SFH 4735 IR LED performance.
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