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Optical sensors

VTT develops optical technology platforms based on miniaturised Fabry-Perot interferometers, LEDs and special sensor technologies. Platforms are created for process, automotive, consumer, bio, security and safety applications. The main markets for optical sensor solutions include diagnostic test readers, portable imaging systems and ultra-lightweight sensors in demanding applications, such as space exploration, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), weather stations and environmental monitoring systems. 

Fabry-perot spectrometers

Over the past 20 years, VTT has developed two technology platforms for miniaturized spectrometers: Piezo-actuated and MEMS-based Fabry-Perot. We have brought totally new microspectrometers into the marketplace, thanks in large part to our excellent clean room facilities and capabilities in design and simulation, microtechnology manufacturing, hermetic sealing and sensor electronics.

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The PIEZO-actuated Fabry Perot Interferometer (PFPI) is used in single-point, imaging and multipoint applications. 

VTT’s PFPI technology strengths are: 

  • repeatable manufacturing processes for metallic mirrors and assembly
  • availability of large apertures (up to 19 mm)
  • no movement of camera or actuators required to generate spectral images
  • fast tuning.

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Our MEMS Fabry-Perot Interferometer (MFPI) is developed for high-volume applications such as gas, fuel and biological measurement. VTT’s MFPI technology enables the production of small, robust, inexpensive and batch-producible products.

The chief benefits of VTT’s MFPI technologies include: 

  • unique set of wavelength ranges compared to other MFPIs
  • large optical apertures up to 19 millimetres in diameter, with superior mirror flatness
  • good immunity to environmental effects (vibration, gravity, temperature)
  • low operation voltages
  • small-scale production capability and experience through VTT Memsfab

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VTT’s Fabry-Perot technologies can also be used in many other industrial applications, such as:

  • chemical imaging
  • gas measurement
  • airborne sensing in UAVs
  • medical imaging applications such as neurosurgery
  • fuel measurement
  • VIS/NIR spectrometers for biological measurements
  • low and medium volume Piezo-FPI microspectrometers
  • high volume MEMS-FPI microspectrometers.

Led spectrometer

We created our first LED-based 32-channel spectrometer in the 1990s. LED component technology has improved substantially since then, but the benefits of LEDs were already obvious. LEDs enable the creation of small, low cost, robust sensor solutions for process industries and also for handheld devices. LED illumination is also playing a more important role in optical analysers and machine vision systems, as component technology improves.

LED technology benefits include:

  • long lifetime
  • high speed (1 millisecond to 1 second)
  • low power – can be battery operated
  • generic approach to spectroscopy, from UV to NIR.

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Filter-based technology platforms

VTT filter-based solutions are based on multi-channel detectors, linear variable filters (LVFs) and specific filter-wheel solutions.

Filter-based analysers offer benefits such as:

  • easily customizable for process and hand-held applications
  • low cost
  • robust
  • suitable for NIR/MIR range.