OptoFluidic: Real-time Optical Analysis

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Optofluidics is a relatively new interdisciplinary technology that combines optics and fluidics. It extends to both the realization of optical effects and components and the analysis of fluids in motion. Fluids comprise liquids and gases, but also bulk solid materials that flow through pipelines and their fittings.

This technology furnishes diagnostic and analytical methods in which certain characteristics, constituents or parameters of fluids in motion such as density, volume, colour, or content of noxious substances are detected and evaluated. For this purpose, the fluid is charged with information that can be subsequently read by optical components. The fluid thus becomes a medium that carries in itself the code for optical analysis. Devices such as cameras and sensors visualize the diagnosis in real time, without the process flow having to be interrupted. In future, optofluidic analysis methods could replace time-consuming sampling and stabilize process flow, while reducing the number of components required and maintenance costs.

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