Issues to be addressed
Our project is trying to develop technology for improving quality of life, e.g., providing point-of-care screening and exams for early detection of cancer, assisting people suffering from color blindness, helping color matching in our daily lives.
We try to develop a miniature, low cost, and high-performance optical spectrometer and integrate it with a cell phone. Our goal is to make optical spectrometer affordable and accessible to everyone and transform a cell phone into a personal analytical tool while simultaneously taking advantage of its wireless communication capabilities for data sharing, access, and management.
Combining mobile optical spectroscopy with wireless technology can lead to many new applications such as personal health care, color analysis, chemical and bio-sensing. The integration of a spectrometer with a cell phone also provides a platform, which can enable even more applications or new APPs by fully taking advantage of the creativity of the community. The ability of data sharing will enable developers to access large amount of data to assess the results and further improve their specific applications.
We will design and develop a new type of high-performance miniature spectrometer to be integrated with a cell phone. Once a prototype is developed we will distribute it to potential users to obtain feedback and based on it to further improve the device. We will also collaborate with experts to develop the clinical applications, including early cancer detection (such as breast cancer and skin cancer) and monitoring of the healing process of surgical wound or injury.
Our approach is based on a unique device, called G-Fresnel, which combines the optical components of a traditional spectrometer into a single device and creates a simpler spectrometer system. This simpler design enables a new level of miniaturization and performance which is difficult to achieve with traditional spectrometer technology. The device can also be fabricated by replicating from a master pattern, leading to a low cost. Finally, the G-Fresnel has a small f/#, resulting in high spectral resolution. These unique properties of G-Fresnel make it possible to develop a high-performance, miniature, and low cost spectrometer to be integrated with a cell phone.
What is an optial spectrometer?
Optical spectrometers provide the unique capability to decipher the “colors” of light, and can detect the way light interacts with materials to identify hidden chemical substances far more precisely than what our eyes can do.
Where are they used? How come I've never heard of such a device?
Optical spectrometers have benefitted many areas of science and industry, and are demonstrated for many applications in healthcare, color analysis, and environmental monitoring.
However, the requirement of highly accurate performance has kept costs high, and spectrometers out of the reach of the general public.
We seek to change this.
We want to make optical spectroscopy affordable and accessible to everyone and transform a smart phone into a personal analytical tool while simultaneously taking advantage of its computing ability and wireless communication capability.
Our team of research engineers at Penn State University have developed a new device (pictured) that has the capability to shrink the functionality of a traditional spectrometer significantly while maintaining high performance required for performing meaningful measurements. How small? Possibly, to dimensions on the order of a sugar cube or even smaller.
Our technology will put the power of spectroscopy into the palm of your hand, and bring with it the capability to determine chemical composition of substances at home or on the go.
How you can help
With your help, we will develop the next generation prototype mobile spectrometer that will be integrated with a cell phone. The funds will go directly towards development of the prototype, including creating a new mold to further miniaturize our design.
If you would like to help but can’t contribute monetarily, you can help by spreading the word – tell your friends, colleagues, neighbors about our project!
Please visit our project webpage for more details about our technology and where it is headed!