Design and Build of a High Specification Extended FTIR Spectrometer

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science


This project consists of extending the range of FTIR spectrometry in order to be able to identify compounds that have their absorption bands out of the commonly used mid-IR range. This would enable the detection of a range of materials such as metallic and semiconducting compounds, and monitor reactions where nanocrystals are embedded in polymers. The project implies the "bottom-up" design of a high-end FTIR spectrometer, using modern design tools and state-of-the-art optical components. Firstly, the student will become familiar with the FTIR fundamental theory and a comprehensive state-of-the-art study will be performed. Next, commercially available FTIR analysers or spectrometers will be extensively used with the aim of fully understanding all mechanical/optical and software requirements, as well as the use of different sampling modules. Then, a prototype will be built, using internal company resources for mechanical and optical design. This phase also includes the start of software development. The candidate will have to advise the software team of all requirements, such as interaction with hardware components and design of the user interface. (The coding is not part of the project.) Performance tests will be carried out with composite materials. Other prototyping phases will follow until the instrument is ready for the market.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022821/1 30/09/2019 30/03/2028
2278386 Studentship EP/S022821/1 31/08/2019 30/08/2023 Stavros Misopoulos
Description - Build of a configuration for testing the performance of classic Michelson interferometers with flat mirrors that are used inside FTIR spectrometers (the type of instrument that this project intends to build). The interferometer is the most important part of the FTIR spectrometer and with this configuration, a way was found to test the its performance before using it in the FTIR spectrometer. - A new in house linear stage was built, which has resulted in the minimisation of the cost of the instrument. - A novel interferometric configuration has been developed which has solved some development issues and that produces savings in the short and long term. This configuration is intended to be patented. - A new FTIR spectrometer has been designed and also has started to be assembled. The final outcome is intended to be a part of the product line of the company.
Exploitation Route All the above achievements of the projects are going to be used commercially by the company sponsors.
Sectors Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description The main finding has been a new configuration of interferometer that has advantages over previous art, and it is intended to be patented.The research of this project has also helped the industrial partner to gain knowledge and expertise in the field of the project (FTIR spectroscopy). Furthermore, because the project is multidisciplinary and needs the collaboration of mechanical, electrical and software engineers, the company has hired certain professionals to contribute in the development of a product according to the outcome of the project.
First Year Of Impact 2021
Sector Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic