The assignee for this patent, patent number 8525990, is
Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "IR spectroscopy measurements may be useful for a variety of purposes including aerospace, automotive and industrial applications, as well as biological and bio-medical applications. For example, infrared (IR) radiation is readily absorbed by organic materials in association with relative motions (vibrations) of atoms such as carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. As such, IR spectroscopy measurements may indicate a condition of a wide variety or organic materials.
"For example, organic polymer materials such as resin-fiber composites or adhesives may change over time due to a variety of reasons including heat exposure. Chemical changes to a polymer containing structure may affect the desired properties of the polymer containing structure including structural integrity such as strength of a composite or the adhesive properties of an adhesive.
"One problem with prior art approaches to making IR Spectroscopy measurements of polymer containing materials is that a signal-to-noise ratio may be insufficient to determine relative changes in chemistry of the material. For example, prior art Fiber Optic Probes have failed to address the problem of Fresnel reflections from a surface of a sample which may obscure molecular absorption and/or fluorescence spectral data that may be present in the scattered light signal from within a sample.
"In addition, prior art devices and methods for making IR Spectroscopy measurements of polymer containing materials have the drawback that they may only be able to measure the outer surface of the material. For example, prior art IR Spectroscopy approaches typically require destruction of a material in an ex-situ setting.
"Accordingly, there is a need for an improved spectroscopy non-destructive testing device and method for using the same to non-destructively determine a condition of organic containing materials, including fiber reinforced composite materials, over small sampling areas and/or in hard-to-access configurations with a suitable signal-to-noise ratio."
In addition to obtaining background information on this patent, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "In one embodiment, a device for making spectroscopy measurements with reduced or eliminated surface reflections is provided, the device including an elongated member including an outermost opaque thin walled enclosure; an optically transparent thin-walled enclosure adjacent an inner surface of said outermost thin walled enclosure; one or more optical fibers centrally and axially disposed and spaced apart a distance B with respect to the optically transparent thin-walled enclosure; wherein the elongated member is adapted to be coupled to a spectrometer and an illumination source to provide a light signal from the illumination source along said optically transparent thin-walled enclosure and collect a scattered light signal from the sample by said one or more optical fibers to provide to the spectrometer.
"In another embodiment, A method of non-destructively determining the condition of an organic containing material sample with reduced or eliminated surface reflections is provided, the method including providing an elongated member including an outermost opaque thin walled enclosure; providing an optically transparent thin-walled enclosure adjacent an inner surface of said outermost thin walled enclosure; providing one or more optical fibers centrally and axially disposed and spaced apart a distance B with respect to the optically transparent thin-walled enclosure; positioning said distal end of said optically transparent thin-walled enclosure adjacent said organic containing material sample; providing an interrogating light signal from an illumination source to said sample along said optically transparent thin-walled enclosure; and collecting a scattered light signal from said sample by said one or more optical fibers and providing said scattered light signal to a spectrometer.
"These and other objects, aspects and features of the disclosure will be better understood from a detailed description of the preferred embodiments of the disclosure which are further described below in conjunction with the accompanying Figures."
For more information, see this patent: Wilcken,
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