Optical solutions - seeing more
VTT’s Fabry-Perot technology creates new products
VTT has received funding of €2 million for a new international project called Fabry. The kick-off meeting was held in Espoo on August 31st with representatives from the funding agency Tekes, VTT, and eight industrial partners. The aim of this project is to develop VTT’s tunable optical filter technology (Fabry-Perot interferometers) for spectroscopic applications. Several demonstration instruments will be made in the project to prove the applicability of VTT’s technologies in the fields specified by the partners. In addition, another goal for the project is to create a new Finnish and international business.
Motivation and background of the Fabry project
Industry needs new low-cost sensor solutions to increase the efficiency of manufacturing processes and the quality of products. In many fields, smaller and low-cost spectral devices have a high potential to meet these targets. Double-digit growth for handheld NIR analyzers has been forecast for many years to come, with the drivers being savings (on-site, in-field, on-the-go), new opportunities, regulations, and the rapidly decreasing costs of calculation power, enabling complex data analysis.
VTT has developed structures and manufacturing methods for Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPI), enabling compact, low-cost, electronically adjustable spectrometers that work from visible (VIS) wavelengths up to thermal infrared (IR). The Fabry project demonstrates the capability of these VTT-patented technologies in different applications provided by the companies in the project consortium. To enhance international cooperation, there will be two person years of research exchange between the industrial partners and VTT.
Fabry-Perot interferometer technologies at VTT can be divided into two categories: piezo-actuated and micro-electromechanical (MEMS). The first technology is for lower volumes and especially for imaging applications. The second technology is for low-cost applications at very high volumes. Both have the same functioning principle: putting two mirrors close to each other creates an optical filter – a filter that transmits only a narrow band of wavelengths. When the gap between the mirrors is modified, the transmitted wavelengths also change. By manipulating the light that is guided through a sample with this component, one can measure the absorbance spectrum of the sample material.
There are many other methods to measure spectra of materials, but the instrumentation is usually very bulky and expensive. With our FPI technologies, we aim for low cost and small size, enabling totally new markets for the measurement principle. VTT has a long history of developing FPIs, with the first such product in the world being developed in the 1990s for Vaisala Oyj. This component was applied to a CO2 sensor, which is still produced by Vaisala under the product name Carbocap®.
Budget: 2,000,000 euros
Consortium: VTT, 4 Finnish and 4 international industrial partners
Project manager: Jarkko Antila
Team leader Jarkko Antila, tel. +358 20 722 6819