July 31, 2013

Random, scattered, and ultra tiny: A spectrometer for the future

Sometimes a little disorder is precisely what’s in order.

Taking advantage of the sensitive nature of randomly scattered light, Yale University researchers have developed an ultra-compact, low-cost spectrometer with improved resolution over existing micro models. The innovation represents an advance in “lab-on-a-chip” technology, or the consolidation of laboratory capabilities in miniature, highly portable devices.

“The largest dimension of our spectrometer, which we built on a silicon chip, is about the width of a human hair,” said Brandon Redding, a postdoctoral associate in applied physics at Yale and lead author of research published online in the journal Nature Photonics. “It could open up a whole new range of uses, a lot of them outside the lab.”