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TMCNet:  Food safety innovation wins prize as Photonics21 delegates looks to the future

[April 04, 2017]

Food safety innovation wins prize as Photonics21 delegates looks to the future

BRUSSELS and BELLINGHAM, Washington, April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- A report on research into optical techniques to improve food safety by detecting possible cancer precursors in food brought recognition and a cash award to Vrije Universiteit Brussel PhD student Lien Smeesters this week. Smeesters was awarded the €5,000 2017 Photonics21 Student Innovation Award, sponsored by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Hamamatsu, at the Photonics21 annual meeting in Brussels last week.

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Smeesters uses optical sensing techniques to noninvasively scan cooked potato fries, corn-based snacks, and other foodstuffs. Several tons of products can be screened per hour, without the use of any chemical additives or dyes.

"During the analytical process, when the food products are in free-fall they are scanned by laser," Smeesters explained at the award presentation during the event welcoe session on 28 March.

"After the scanning, the data are processed, and contaminated or unwanted products can be immediately removed by the use of a burst of air. We can successfully classify the healthy and contaminated food kernels with an accuracy that fulfills European food safety standards."

Smeesters is a member of the SPIE VUB Student Chapter, and has authored several papers for SPIE. She is a member of professor Hugo Thienpont's research group.

Recently appointed Photonics21 president Aldo Kamper, CEO of Osram Opto Semiconductors, opened the two-day event. He emphasized the findings of the organization's newly published impact report on the Photonics Public-Private Partnership (PPP) established among the European commission, the photonics industry, and the R&D community.

The report shows that in the past few years the PPP has helped stimulate industry growth and create jobs, Kamper said. Photonics21 and the PPP will now "look a bit to the future," he said, to consider the priorities for the next three years through 2020 and beyond to the FP9 framework successor to Horizon 2020.

SPIE Europe Executive Director Eugene Arthurs serves on the Photonics21 Board of Stakeholders.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves nearly 264,000 constituents from approximately 166 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2016, SPIE provided more than $4 million in support of education and outreach programs. www.spie.org

Contact:
Amy Nelson
Public Relations Manager
SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics
amy(at)spie(dot)org
1-360-676-3290

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