Photonic application project could benefit food industry

Monday, 17 January, 2022

Photonic application project could benefit food industry

Aston University is set to develop new applications of optical frequency technology that could benefit the food industry, as well as other industries.

Based in the University’s Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT), the project will explore new optical frequency comb (OFC) technology, which is a particular kind of light that acts as a precise optical ruler to measure exact frequencies of light.

The Aston University team, led by Professor Sergei Turitsyn, Director of Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies, will both develop novel advanced OFC technologies and explore feasibility of the developed methods in several fields of major practical importance. For example, within the food supply chain and agricultural technology they can be used to prevent contamination by detecting toxic or noxious substances.

Other applications of OFC technologies include high-speed optical communications, monitoring greenhouse gases concentration outdoors, gas concentrations in industrial settings, optical sensing and many other applications across many industrial sectors.

This project is in partnership with two French universities, the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis and the University of Lille. It has the ambitious goal to revolutionise high-speed, high-resolution spectroscopy by developing a new family of light sources with improved robustness, performance and versatility to allow for wider adoption in a wide range of different fields.

The project aims to overcome barriers to the existing technology and develop new advanced methods with a research program spanning from new concepts and designs to demonstrations of practical applications of frequency combs including metrology, telecommunications, gas sensing and sensing for the food industry.

The project has received £1.6m investment from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Professor Turitsyn said: “We are happy to receive this EPSRC award that will allow us, together with the two French academic centres, both to advance frequency comb technology exploiting new nonlinear science concepts and immediately apply developed technology to highly important practical problems.”

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