The comprehensive monitoring of the food chain, i.e. from growth to consumer, without gaps is of outstanding importance to consumer health and the food industry alike. Yet, due to the lack of suitable sensing technologies at adequate costs, only selective, critical spots can currently be monitored. While the particular food to be monitored may take any shape or form during processing, gases are always present and their composition is uniquely suited to learn about the state of the system. In this contribution, a universal quantum sensor concept to identify and quantify the components of complex gas matrices is presented. The sensing approach is based on detecting Raman scattered photons from inside a gas sample filled optical cavity. Because of the typically small Raman scattering cross-sections on the order of 10-30 cm2 a Fabry-Perot cavity with a Finesse of about 2,000 is used to enhance the available laser power of an extended cavity diode laser running at 780 nm. The scattered light is funneled onto a spectrometer after Rayleigh scattered photons have been suppressed using a notch filter. To allow in-situ determination of arbitrary gas matrices, the sensor concept relies on the diffusion of ambient air into the cavity. The setup is currently able to simultaneously detect gases with Raman spectra up to 3000 cm-1, which includes important indicators for food packaging, including nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.
Vincenz Sandfort, Jens Goldschmidt, Jürgen Wöllenstein, and Stefan Palzer, "One quantum sensor for all gases: cavity-enhanced Raman spectroscopy for food-chain monitoring," Proc. SPIE 10540, Quantum Sensing and Nano Electronics and Photonics XV, 105400Z (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2018; Published: 26 January 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2289732.
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