Standardization and quality monitoring of alcoholic beverages is an important issue in the liquor production industry. Various spectroscopic techniques have proved useful for tackling this problem. An ideal sensing device for alcoholic beverages should be able to detect the quality of alcohol with a small amount of sample at a low acquisition time using a portable and easy to use device. We propose the use of near infra-red spectroscopy on an optofluidic chip for quality monitoring of single malt Scotch whisky. This is chip upon which we have previously realized waveguide confined Raman spectroscopy. Analysis on this alignment-free, portable chip may be performed in only 2 seconds with a sample volume of only 20 µl. Using a partial least square (PLS) calibration, we demonstrate that the alcohol content in the beverage may be predicted to within a 1% prediction error. Principal component analysis (PCA) was employed for successful classification of whiskies based upon their age, type and cask. The prospect of implementing an optofluidic analogue of a conventional fiber based spectroscopic probe allows a rapid analysis of alcoholic beverages with dramatically reduced sample volumes.
The research, which has been patented, was carried out by physicists Praveen Ashok, Kishan Dholakia and Bavishna Praveen.
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