This project will seek to address the requirement of the European food and paper industries for robust and reliable sensors based on spectroscopic techniques.
In recent years there has been an increasing interest in the use of infrared and Raman spectroscopies for the analysis of foods and other materials of a biological origin. Substantial development work has taken place within Europe on the development and application of these methods. This work some of which has been coordinated with EU funding (eg FLAIR Concerted Action Nol "QUEST"), has highlighted key areas of application and clearly demonstrated the enormous potential that exists. It has been shown, for example, that multi-component quantitative analysis can be
performed on a wide range of samples, that qualitative data can be obtained allowing improved quality control and assisting product development and that the methods offer rapid and sensitive detection of adulteration.
However, the major technical hurdles to be addressed relate to the unsuitability of current analytical instumentation for deployment in industrial environments. The maximum benefit of this new technology will be realised when near- and on-line versions of the instruments are produced. This proposal involves partners with the diverse expert skills required to solve the existing technical problems in order to produce equipment suitable for use in industrial settings.The project will consist of three distinct phases:
Phase 1 will involve an-depth study of the samples chosen for analysis by partners representing end-users in the food industries. For each product the optimum sample presentation method will be identified and suitable calibration models developed. This work will identify the optimum spectroscopic method and will define the type of instrument required eg infrared, Raman, fixed wavelength or full-spectrum. During this phase the environmental conditions of deployment will be determined. A critical analysis of potential technical solutions will be produced allowing the end-users to have input into the specification of factory equipment.
Phase 2 will involve the design and construction of prototype sensors based on the end-users requirements using the most suitable and modern technology. This is expected to lead to near and on-line infrared and Raman spectrometers and near-line optothermal instruments able to withstand severe operating conditions. During this phase key components will be tested on suitable pilot plant.
Phase 3 will involve combining hardware and calibration software followed by rigorous pilot plant and on-line testing of the prototype instruments. The results will be used to fine-tune the instruments and lead to a full appraisal and evaluation. The end product will be in the form of working prototypes and technical know-how required for the future development of production systems.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
NR4 7UA Norwich
HP12 3QR High Wycombe