Osram Introduces Broadband IR LED for Smartphone-based Spectroscopy

German-based lighting manufacturer Osram Licht AG, claims that consumers will soon be able to use their smartphones to check how fresh supermarket food is, measure the calories in restaurant meals, and verify whether the tablet in their hand is actually a painkiller. According to Osram, these functions will all be possible using newly developed broadband infrared LEDs (IR LEDs) that emit in a wide wavelength range.

Osram's new broadband IR LED can be used for smartphone-based spectroscopy.

Osram’s new broadband IR LED can be used for smartphone-based spectroscopy.

The company’s subsidiary, Osram Opto Semiconductors first presented the Oslon Black Flat SFH 4735 IR LED at the end of 2016, thereby opening up the consumer sector to broadband IR LED technology. Furthermore, Osram asserts that so far it is the only company to offer broadband IREDs. With the tiny SFH 4776 broadband IR LED, Osram contends that spectroscopy applications can be integrated into smartphones.

Wavelength Distribution of Reflected Broadband IR LED Light Determines Presence and Quantity of Certain Ingredients

Near-infrared spectroscopy enables the measurement of substances such as the water, fat, sugar, and protein content of food. The technology utilizes the unique absorption behavior of certain molecular compounds. The wavelength distribution of the reflected light from a sample can determine the presence and quantity of certain ingredients when a defined light spectrum is directed at the sample. A broadband IR LED, such as the compact SFH 4776, serves as a light source for the spectrometer.

The Synios package of the SFH 4776 measures just 0.6 mm high and features a space-saving footprint of 2.75 mm x 2.0 mm, making it perfect for use in smartphones.

Osram Opto Semiconductors’ development of SFH 4776 address the recent trends such as technology-based fitness monitoring and electronic aids for the health sector. The company based the SFH 4776 like the SFH 4735, on an efficient, blue-emitting ThinGaN chip using its UX:3 technology.

A specially developed phosphor converter for spectroscopy converts blue light into infrared light with a broad wavelength range of 650 nm to 1050 nm. The company’s improvements to the phosphor material resulted in a 60% increase in the intensity of light compared with the LED’s predecessor. For the customer, this increased intensity translates to an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio and therefore simpler analysis of food and medicines.

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