In recent years, instrumentation for analytical spectrometry has evolved dramatically in terms of sensitivity and miniaturization, making the instrumentation more compact and versatile for both remote and field applications. The natural evolution of stand-off optical spectroscopes like laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), Raman or Infrared (IR) points to the development of new spectrometers and technologies for airborne operation.
However, signal quality worsens under mechanical fluctuations or energetic movements of the instrument, which yields inaccurate measurements.
A research group from a Spanish University has developed an invention, which effectively solves this issue and makes possible to carry out spectroscopic measurements when the sample, the measuring equipment or both are subjected to vibration. The invention consist of a signal stabilization system that combines hardware and software to enable analysis from an instrument subjected to the movements of a remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS). It can be applied to all kind of stand-off analytical instrumentation with an open optical path.
Civil applications include airborne inspection of infrastructure (reinforced concrete or corrosion in power lines...), contamination of soils while military applications are mostly centred on chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) detection from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
This patent is the result of a collaborative effort based on the department of applied physics of the university but spanning several other departments. They bring together a long experience in a variety of fields like material synthesis and characterization, photovoltaics, spectroscopy, lasers, optics and robotics to develop new spectroscopy and sensing technologies for both the civil and military sectors.
The research group is looking for companies interested in acquiring this technology for its commercial exploitation through license agreement. The company should be responsible for the development of the industrial scale up, the validation of the technology, its manufacture and its introduction into the market. The university will be ready to provide technical assistance in each step if required.
However, the research group would be also interested in establishing technical cooperation agreements to further develop this signal stabilization system, to find new applications or to adapt it to the company’s needs. The goal of this type of collaboration would be increasing the technology readiness level for a future commercial exploitation of the patent. The university would offer its support based on their know-how; while, the partner sought would provide its expertise to help improve this invention.