NIR spectroscopy or Near Infra Red Technology is a tool used to precisely analyze food components and the prediction of functionality parameters. This tool is very useful for the Food technologists at any level. The future uses of NIR technology include grading and classifying materials and organoleptic-type categorization of materials and foods. NIR technology focuses on the development of technical knowledge and practical applications of this spectroscopic technique. NIR instruments were initially developed to conduct grain quality analysis in the field at low cost.
NIR technology procedure includes the use of probes or flow cells for a direct investigation of the most relevant processes to analyze substances that contain CH-, NH-, OH-, SH- or -C=O groups in a concentration range of approximately 1% and above.
NIR instruments can be used to analyze both solid and liquid samples (during extreme conditions as well) with the development of modern probes and transmission cells. The use of NIR instruments does not require sampling as necessary in the analysis performed by the qualified technicians. The spectroscopic information is easily transportable via fiber optics over distances of more than 100m to the instrument.
At present, the NIR instruments can be used to analyzer products in the field, laboratory and on line. NIR Technology Systems are being used to analyze the quality of food, agriculture, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals, chemical, plastic and polymers. The NIR Technology Systems use state of the art gratings and diode array detection for analysis. These analyzers come with the software which helps in analyzing the qualitative and quantitative parameters using the partial least squares calculation.
NIR instruments are also used by the defense departments to prevent detection by NIR Image Converters which helps in not detecting the body temperature, but help in detecting the infrared radiation variances.
The NIR technology uses infrared radiation which is basically electromagnetic radiations whose wavelength is longer than that of the visible light, but shorter than that of terahertz radiation.
If we consider the Planck’s law, it states that the objects or surfaces give out an electromagnetic radiation whose intensity and spectral distribution depends on the body’s temperature. Many detectors for the near-infrared spectral range of 0.8µm to 1.1µm can detect thermal radiation from temperatures of approx. 300°C on surfaces. This temperature cannot be seen by the human eye .
NIR technology can also be used to detect electromagnetic radiations just like an alarm system can detect smoke. Scattering of light by aerosols in this wavelength range is even less than in the visible range. Therefore in many situations open fires can be localized through smoke when it is not possible with the human eye.