SBIR Phase I: Portable, Miniaturized Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer featuring Autonomous In Situ Alignment

Period of Performance: 07/01/2016 - 12/31/2016

$225K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Cam2Technologies, LLC
6 Finance Drive
Danbury, CT 06810
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Abstract

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop a next-generation handheld Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometer. Handheld FTIR devices have opened up the possibility of interrogating samples on complex and difficult-to-access surfaces in many fields. Significantly reducing the size and weight of the handheld FTIR system will enable direct sampling in a greater number of applications that cannot be served with current devices. This new technology has relevance for laboratory and in-field forensic science analyses (narcotics identification, clandestine drug laboratories, trace evidence); cleanliness analysis in pharmaceutical and food processing environments; analysis of pharmaceutical ingredients development and potential counterfeits; chemical reaction monitoring; raw materials and finished products verification; aerospace (validation of composite bonding repairs); and chemical/explosives detection and threat screening (defense, homeland security, transportation, ports and borders). However, current devices suffer from shortcomings related to critical ergonomic factors: bulk, size, weight, user interface, and balance. These problems prevent the potential for large-scale acceptance and use of the technique. There is a need for a truly handheld (smartphone-sized), lightweight, high-performance FTIR spectrometer system capable of non-destructive, in situ analysis of a large variety of surfaces and materials. The intellectual merit of this project is in the development of truly handheld Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectrometer. The systemic optical, opto-mechanical, electro-mechanical, and electrical circuit design of the device must be harmoniously optimized to achieve target size and configuration while still providing high performance measurements. Autonomous in situ alignment will provide better spectroscopy performance and instrument stability for use in any spatial orientation. Without this self-healing, robustness feature, a palm-sized instrument of requisite capability, precision, and resistance to shock could not possibly be contemplated. Through use of modern mobile computing technology, the unit will be unsurpassed in ease of use, integration with modern web-based media, and wireless interconnectivity. Development of highly efficient circuits and controls will facilitate the capability to run on commercial-off-the shelf (COTS) batteries. The purpose of this project is to begin the process of designing and developing the electronics, optical and opto-mechanical components required for the proposed spectrometer. This will be achieved by developing a breadboard for the overall system design, and investigating the miniaturization of FTIR components.