29 Mar 2017
Welcome from new president Aldo Kamper and €5,000 Student Award for VUB-developed food-spectroscopy innovation.Photonics 21 industry group opened yesterday, March 28th, with a welcome by newly-appointed president Aldo Kamper, who is also CEO of Osram Opto Semicondictors.
Anticipating today’s presentation by Khalil Rouhana, the Deputy Director General of the European Commission’s DG Connect unit, Kamper told the 200-strong gathering, “This event provides a good opportunity to show the Commission that what we say we actually do. It’s important to show here that Photonics21 is a reliable partner.”
Photonics21 is today publishing a new impact report, of which Kamper said: “This shows that in the past few years we have been doing quite well in terms of growth and crating jobs. Our conference will look a bit to the future and will consider the priorities for the next three years through 2020 and then we will be looking at the years after that – at the FP9 framework – the successor to Horizon 2020.”
After the brief welcome, the second part of the opening evening was the presentation of the annual Student Award. For the eighth time, Photonics21’s Research, Education and Training work group presented the award – a trophy and €5,000 – to a student who is “active in the field of photonics”.
2017’s winner is PhD researcher Lien Smeesters of the University of Brussels (VUB), who is developing optical spectroscopy techniques to improve food safety.
Using Smeester’s research results, a cooked corn kernel, for example, can be scanned during real time transport in a food manufacturing plant, to reveal its content of carcinogenic toxins. The spectroscopic system she has developed enables scanning every individual kernel rapidly and non-destructively.
She told the gathering, “During the analytical process, when the food products are in free-fall they are scanned by laser. Immediately after the scanning, the collected data are processed and the contaminated or unwanted products can be immediately removed by the use of a burst of air. Using this configuration we can successfully classify the healthy and contaminated food kernels with an accuracy that fulfills European food safety standards.
”So, in conclusion, I can demonstrate the use of optical spectroscopy as a valuable tool for the detection of carcinogens in our foodstuffs, so I think I have contributed to improving food safety with optical systems.”