Scientists develop spectrometer that fits inside smartphones

By Gizbot Bureau

    MIT scientists have created a spectrometer small enough to fit inside a smartphone camera that could enable the devices to diagnose diseases, especially skin conditions, or detect environmental pollutants.

    Scientists develop spectrometer that fits inside smartphones

    Spectrometers measure the properties of light and are widely used in physical, chemical, and biological research.

    SEE ALSO: Tech Guide: Top 20 Android Smartphones To Buy this July

    These devices are usually too large to be portable, but Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists have created spectrometers small enough to fit inside a smartphone camera, using tiny semiconductor nanoparticles called quantum dots.

    "Such devices could be used to diagnose diseases, especially skin conditions, or to detect environmental pollutants and food conditions," said Jie Bao, a former MIT postdoc and the lead author of a paper describing the quantum dot spectrometers in the journal Nature.

    Scientists develop spectrometer that fits inside smartphones

    Quantum dots, a type of nanocrystals discovered in the early 1980s, are made by combining metals such as lead or cadmium with other elements including sulfur, selenium, or arsenic.

    SEE ALSO: Top 25 smartphones launched in June 2015 in India

    By controlling the ratio of these starting materials, the temperature, and the reaction time, scientists can generate a nearly unlimited number of dots with differences in an electronic property known as bandgap, which determines the wavelengths of light that each dot will absorb.

    The new quantum dot spectrometer, about the size of a US quarter, deploys hundreds of quantum dot materials that each filter a specific set of wavelengths of light.

    The quantum dot filters are printed into a thin film and placed on top of a photodetector such as the charge-coupled devices (CCDs) found in cellphone cameras.

    The researchers created an algorithm that analyses the percentage of photons absorbed by each filter, then recombines the information from each one to calculate the intensity and wavelength of the original rays of light. The more quantum dot materials there are, the more wavelengths can be covered and the higher resolution can be obtained.

    In this case, the researchers used about 200 types of quantum dots spread over a range of about 300 nanometres. With more dots, such spectrometers could be designed to cover an even wider range of light frequencies.

    If incorporated into small handheld devices, this type of spectrometer could be used to diagnose skin conditions or analyse urine samples, Bao said. They could also be used to track vital signs such as pulse and oxygen level, or to measure exposure to different frequencies of ultraviolet light, which vary greatly in their ability to damage skin.

    Source: PTI

    Read More About: smartphones mobile phones
    India's LARGEST EVER political poll. Have you participated yet?
    Opinion Poll
    X

    Stay updated with latest technology news & gadget reviews - Gizbot

    We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. This includes cookies from third party social media websites and ad networks. Such third party cookies may track your use on Gizbot sites for better rendering. Our partners use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on Gizbot website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time. Learn more