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Ethylene optical spectrometer for apple ripening monitoring in controlled atmosphere store-houses
|Sensors and Actuators. B 136 (2009), No.2, pp.546-554|
| Journal Article|
|Fraunhofer IPM ()|
In today's store-houses the ripening of fruit is controlled by managing the ethylene concentration in the ambient atmosphere. Precise and continuous ethylene monitoring is very advantageous since low ethylene concentrations are produced by the fruit itself and are indicative of its ripeness, and on other occasions, ethylene is externally added when ripeness or degreening of the product must be promoted. In this work, a multichannel mid-infrared spectrometer for ethylene measurement is built and characterized. The instrument contains additional channels to reject potential cross-interferences like ammonia and ethanol. Additionally, these channels are useful for monitoring a potential malfunction of the cooling system and possible fouling of the fruit, respectively. The complete spectrometer contains a silicon-based macroporous infrared (IR) emitter, a miniaturized long path cell (white cell), a four-channel detector module, low-noise analog amplification and filtering, and amicrocontroller-based lock-in amplifier. The new inner architecture of the detector module features a fourfold thermopile array with narrow band optical filters attached by flip-chip technology. and a Fresnel lens array attached on the lid of the package. Laboratory tests show that the system is able to distinguish between ammonia and ethylene, featuring a detection limit of 30 ppm and 160 ppm (95% confidence) for ethylene and ammonia, respectively. Field tests show that the spectrometer is suitable as an ethylene alarm to detect fruit ripening and prevent fruit to decline into senescence. Simulation results show that system selectivity could be improved by setting ammonia channel to another absorption wavelength.