Various researches in clinical medicine, biomedical field use light spectrometry to measure the intensity of light. The machines that are able to accurately detect the wavelengths of light are immobile and huge and are restricted to laboratories.
MIT researchers have developed an entirely new approach, which utilizes quantum dots, to reduce the size of spectrometers by orders of magnitude.
Using prisms and diffraction gratings, spectrometers separate light into component wavelengths but the new approach relies on quantum dots, semiconductor nanocrystals that have quantum properties.
Depending on how the dots were manufactured, the nanocrystals can be made to absorb different wavelengths of light.
The new device, about the size of a large coin, includes groups of quantum dots that filter light within specific ranges of wavelengths. A camera placed behind a sheet printed with different groups of microdots can measure the amount of light that penetrates onto the photodetector.
The device is able to identify the wavelength and intensity parameters of light emitted by the object studied by combining the measurements gathered of light coming through different groups of quantum dots.
While the latest prototype is able to measure light of wavelengths within about 300 nanometers, by using more groups of quantum dots that range can be significantly expanded and the resolution increased.