Frequently Asked Questions
Are you looking for further information? Here you can find the answers to our most frequently asked questions and learn about our products.
What is Material Sensing and what does spectroscopy have to do with it?
Material sensing is about making the optical fingerprint visible by the means of optical spectroscopy.
So using spectroscopy means you can identify, qualify and quantify the material composition of either a liquid or a solid material.
In a nutshell, how does spectroscopy work? How do we get from a substance that we would like to learn more about to an actual result?
First you need a light source. With that light source, you shine onto your sample, onto your object, and then a portion of the light is absorbed by the substance and another portion is back reflected.
The back reflected part you detect with your sensor. And with that back reflected part, you can extract the sample composition and information about the sample material.
What is an optical fingerprint and how does it work?
An optical fingerprint is very comparable to my fingerprint. So I have a very unique fingerprint, you have a fingerprint and they are different.
And each material has its own optical fingerprint, which we are able to detect utilizing optical spectroscopy. So plastics, water, sugar and any ingredient of any substance is unique and can be measured by optical spectroscopy.
What are the capabilities of spectroscopy?
NIR spectroscopy is a very versatile technique. For example, you can measure the moisture content in grains or textiles or the composition of shirts or the dry matter content of animal feed. And the underlying origin is, that these materials are composed of a molecular structure. That means that certain atoms are interlinked by a chemical bond and this chemical bond can be nicely measured with NIR spectroscopy.
What are some application examples?
The possibilities are rather broad. For example, you can measure what a shirt is composed of, you can measure food, you can measure liquids and you can measure solids. Because there is a molecular structure behind all these things.
Is there anything that is not possible with spectroscopy? What are the limitations?
Even though NIR spectroscopy is a very powerful technique, there are certain limitations.
For example, too low concentration applications are hard to measure. This means gases or water vapor are very hard to measure, but also when it comes to bacteria and virus measurements.
What is important to produce reliable results when using Material Sensing?
First of all, you need proper technology. Our SenoCorder devices are very good to solve this problem.
Secondly, you need the right samples, the right amount of samples, the right quantity of samples and the right presentation of the samples in front of the technology. Then each sample needs to be tagged with the right reference value.
And third, you need to apply the correct chemometric algorithms, which are statistical methods, in order to interlink the analyte you want to measure with the spectra you get out of your technology.
How do environmental conditions affect the results when working with spectroscopy?
You need to measure enough samples in a certain environmental conditions, and you need to analyze the spectral data by applying chemometric algorithms in order to extract the information you want and to refer it to the actual reference value you are looking at.
For example, false light coming from the sun can have impact on your results. But also, the temperature if is varying whilst measuring. You need to apply all these environmental conditions to the chemometrics itself – you can account for many effects and you can correct them. For example, you can measure your substances at different temperatures leading to a more robust model, robust in the sense that it’s not so sensitive to different temperatures.
What is chemometrics, what is a chemometric model and why is it important?
A chemometric model is important in order to enable NIR spectroscopy. So chemometrics is a mathematical, statistical approach to interlink the spectroscopic data you get out of your hardware with the analyte of your samples.
So this means you need a rather broad set of samples, a large amount of samples, because it’s a statistical approach. And then once you have set up your chemometric model, you can validate and apply the model.
You use your technology, you take a measure of your shirt and then you get the answer of whether this is cotton or polyester.
What is so special about the Senorics detectors? How is our approach different?
In NIR spectroscopy, you need various components. First, you need a detector material: silicon or indium gallium arsenide.
Second, you need a dispersive element, for example a grating or a prism, and another optical component as an entrance slit. Altogether, you end up with a rather bulky system.
We at Senorics, we merged all these components together into one single chip. Like this one. And so the magic is combined in this single chip and the basis is organic electronics. So as known from organic light emitting diodes and organic solar cells, we used a very similar technique to realize NIR spectroscopic sensors. And another cool feature is that these detectors are not broadband in comparison to silicon or indium gallium arsenide. But they are spectroscopically tailored to the right application.
So this means we have narrowband absorption bands, which we can adopt to the right application.
How does the Senorics sensor work without a dispersive element and why is it beneficial?
Our Senorics sensor works without a classical dispersive element. What we are utilizing is a filter technology, and we combine that with an organic photodiode technology.
So each pixel is then sensitive to a certain spectral region, which can be narrowband, we can tailor made this and we can repeat that. In our case we have 16 pixels on one chip and can cover the entire spectral region of the NIR.
How are 16 wavelengths enough?
16 pixels are indeed enough in the NIR in order to solve all spectroscopic and chemometric applications.
Typically you have 512 or 128 pixels, but this is for conventional technology. When you have in mind that a typical spectra in the NIR is rather broadband, features are smeared out and there are no sharp features in the spectra, you don’t need this high resolution to solve your problem. So 16 channels with our resolution is fairly enough in order to solve all the chemometrics applications we have in mind.
What are the benefits of our sensors?
Our sensors are very small, they are very robust, they are very cost effective because we are relying on organic electronics.
So we have basic technology, basic facilities to produce them, they are fully scalable and so we can bring them into mass market applications.
Can you explain why our technology is so fast and what exactly that means?
We have no moving elements, so you don’t need any translation time to move any component. And we have PIN photo diodes, they are extremely quick. The retort can in principle be done in the nanosecond range. Of course, electronics are not capable of taking the same speed as our sensor, but we can measure the entire spectrum in the micro or millisecond range.
Tell us a bit more about the expected lifetime of Senorics sensors
The lifetime of our sensors is basically not limited. Of course you will have in mind that, for example organic light emitting diodes have problems with lifetime, but this is a problem of the past and is dedicated to the spectral regions they are working in. For example, the blue spectral region has rather high energy photons and these high energy photons are harmful, or can be harmful to the organic materials.
We at Senoricsare dealing with NIR spectroscopy. So these are rather low energy photons and they are not harmful to the organic materials in any way. So therefore we don’t have any problems with lifetime with our sensors.
How to download and install SenoSoft?
To download the software, you need a password. If you don't have one yet, please write an e-mail to email@example.com.
If you have your password, use this link.
Navigate to section “Download Software” and click on download link.
Save zip-file in local folder, unzip into another local folder (using built-in Windows capabilities). Make sure you have full access rights to this folder, otherwise SenoSoft will not work properly. This will be your start up folder for SenoSoft, there is no installer. Bookmark the file start.bat located at SenoSoft local folder / bin. This will be your starting point for using / executing SenoSoft.
SenoSoft does not start or gets stuck during the startup sequence. What’s wrong?
Make sure SenoSoft is either installed in a local folder with full access rights or that you have admin rights and started SenoSoft with “Start as Administrator”.
SenoSoft gets stuck during the calibration or measurement procedure. What to do?
Make sure that the SenoCorder is turned on and that it is not connected to a USB port for charging while being operated.
Receiving false predictions when measuring textiles. What to do?
Recalibrate the SenoCorder by using the re-calibrate button and follow the shown instructions.
Where to download SenoApp?
Depending on your smartphone's operating system, you can download SenoApp either from the Play Store (Android) or from the App Store (iOS).
What if the device is not showing in SenoApp?
Make sure the device is turned on and both Bluetooth and location services are activated on your phone. Refresh the devices tab by either tapping on the magnifier or by dragging it down.
How and when to charge the SenoCorder?
The battery level is shown in the status bar in SenoSoft and under the tab "Connected" in SenoApp. We recommend charging the device with the included USB-C cable if the battery level is 20% or less. Additionally, the LED at the back of the device will turn red to indicate a low battery status.