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PhD researcher Lien Smeesters is studying optical techniques to increase food safety. Thanks to her innovative technique, several tons of natural products can be screened per hour, without the use of any chemical additives. Her project was selected during a contest in which Lien is now a finalist.

 

In her PhD research, Smeesters studies optical sensing techniques to pave the way towards an increased food safety.  Think of delicious tacos or nachos. Using Lien’s research results, the corn being used in the production process can be scanned on carcinogenic toxins, right from the fields. Particularly, she enables to scan every individual maize kernel in an efficient, accurate and non-destructive way. Based on her innovative technique, several tons of natural products can be screened per hour, without the use of any chemical additives.

 

 

The award

Edmund Optics Educational Award selects applied optics-related research projects that are expected to have a high impact on tomorrow’s applications, like Lien’s project.  Within her doctorate research ‘Improving food safety with optical screening’,  Lien Smeesters studies different spectroscopic techniques, including absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy, for the optical detection of carcinogenic mycotoxins and the prediction of the harmful acrylamide formation in food products. She aims to integrate these sensing techniques into laser-based scanning platforms, to enable a rapid, accurate and non-destructive detection of contaminants.

The final award winners will be announced on October 19, 2016.