Optical process analytics – this fast and non-contact method of measuring chemical and physical parameters provides high-density information without the need to take samples. What’s more, it can be shrunk to a far smaller size and is easy to integrate into existing process lines. From its location in Aachen, Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology led a consortium to analyze the future potential of this technique in cooperation with BAM and RWTH Aachen University. The purpose of the study, entitled “Inline process analytics with light – InLight” was to develop a technology roadmap and a detailed white paper that will be presented to a wider public in early 2017.
Process analytical techniques – a promising sector
One of the keys to the success of chemical-physical and biotech production processes is the ability to measure critical process parameters accurately in-line. “Process analytical technology (PAT) is a good tool in this context, and one for which optical measuring techniques are particularly useful,” says Dr. Reinhard Noll, head of measurement technology and EUV sources at Fraunhofer ILT.
Making optical PAT suitable for harsh industrial environments rather than just the laboratory requires robust, automated sensor systems that fulfill the process requirements. With this goal in mind, the consortium led by Fraunhofer ILT investigated four key topics. The first was spectroscopic methods, which can be used even by people who have no specialist knowledge, and the team established that there are good development opportunities in this area. Their findings revealed considerable demand for versatile devices that can be used to measure parameters in the solid, liquid and gaseous aggregation states.
Optical access with no maintenance required
The second topic, optical access, focuses primarily on the vision of maintenance-free optical access. This topic also requires significant R&D investment in areas such as optical windows with integrated functional elements; for instance, smart windows.
The study team also came up with a tough set of requirements for the third topic, laser beam sources. These include affordable light sources (priced at < 1000 euros) for a wide range of applications (from mid-infrared to ultraviolet); they feature a long operating time (> 100,000 hours) and an extended range of operating temperatures.
Making sensor calibration simpler
Whether or not PAT systems succeed depends heavily on future progress in the fourth topic area: calibration, soft sensors and sensor fusion. The study team compiled a wish list that includes hugely simplified sensor calibration as well as the ability to transfer calibration settings from one device to another. The technology roadmap highlights different ways of meeting the team's medium- and long-term goals, including sensor fusion, self-diagnostics, automated sensor calibration and in situ qualification.
In early 2017, Fraunhofer ILT will be uploading a white paper to its website entitled “Optical process analytics – industry requirements, future perspectives and key R&D challenges.”
Detailed study: In-line process analytics with light – InLight
From October 2015 to October 2016, a consortium of experts led by Fraunhofer ILT carried out a detailed study of in-line process analytics with light. The team also included experts from the Berlin-based Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), RWTH Aachen University, and 14 companies from Germany and Austria.
PD Dr. rer. nat. Reinhard Noll
Head of the Competence Area Measurement Technology and EUV Sources
Phone +49 241 8906-138
Petra Nolis M.A. | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
Further reports about: > Fraunhofer-Institut > ILT > Lasertechnik > PAT > analytical > analytical technology > chemical processes > critical process parameters > future perspectives > industrial environments > laser beam > production processes > range of applications > smart windows > spectroscopic methods > technology roadmap
The stacked colour sensor
16.11.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Counterfeits and product piracy can be prevented by security features, such as printed 3-D microstructures
16.11.2017 | Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses