Mid Infrared SpectrometerS by an Innovative Optica.. (MISSION)
Mid Infrared SpectrometerS by an Innovative Optical iNterferometer
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: Nov 30, 2016
The MISSION projects aims at bringing to the market a revolutionary concept of mid-infrared (MIR) interferometer, for a new generation of compact, low-cost, rugged spectrometers. Many applications of chemistry, materials science and life sciences require analysis and identification of substances based on their vibrational absorption spectra in the MIR. Time domain vibrational spectroscopy techniques such as FTIR and 2DIR are based on the use of an optical Michelson interferometer, producing two identical phase-shifted replicas of the input beam. Phase determination is technically very challenging and requires tracking with an auxiliary laser beam and in some cases the use of active stabilization approaches, with feedback control on the interferometer arms, greatly increasing device complexity. We have recently introduced a new optical interferometer, called TWINS, which exploits material birefringence to impose highly controllable delays. TWINS has the advantages of being inherently phase stable, compact, rugged, highly reproducible and potentially low cost. The TWINS concept, for which a patent has been filed, was successfully demonstrated in the visible and the MIR spectral ranges. It is the goal of the MISSION project to unleash the innovation potential of TWINS, by developing, technically validating and bringing to the market a TWINS-based MIR interferometer, paving the way to a new generation of compact and low-cost analytical instruments for a wide range of applications. We have identified a suitable material with broad MIR transparency and huge birefringence: calomel. The MISSION project aims at: i) building a TWINS device based on calomel; ii) demonstrating its application to MIR spectroscopy; and iii) turning it into a commercial product, to be sold either as stand-alone device or as part of a spectroscopic instrument. We expect that TWINS will significantly reduce the cost of MIR interferometers, thus widely broadening their application portfolio.
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