By Rich Koba, Senior Product Manager
Materion Precision Coatings offers UV, visible and infrared filters that are being used in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. These filters are being used in three general applications: (1) LWIR filters used to manufacture thermal cameras and temperature sensors to measure a person’s temperature and check for fever. (2) λ = 4.27 μm filters and beamsplitters are used in capnographs to measure the concentration of CO2 in a person’s breath. Capnographs are commonly included in conjunction with ventilators, CPAP machines, and anesthesia machines. (3) UV and visible filters are used in fluorescence spectrometers inside Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machines to sequence the DNA of viruses. DNA sequencing is a definitive way to identify viruses.
LWIR Filters for Measurement of Body Temperature
Materion is a leader in Long Wave InfraRed filters used for temperature measurement and night vision. These sensors typically block wavelengths between 2 and 8 μm but transmit wavelengths between 8 and 12 μm. These filters can be positioned above bolometers or semiconductor detectors in infrared cameras. Such IR cameras are commonly used to image people walking through airports and other public places to detect persons with elevated temperature on their foreheads, a possible symptom of viral infection. Materion offers LWIR long pass filters as either discrete plates, metalized windows compatible with hermetic solder assembly, or as filter arrays on 200mm Si wafers compatible with hermetic wafer bonding.
Capnography is the measurement of the carbon dioxide concentration in a patent’s breath. Capnographs are spectrometers tuned to the vibrational absorption of CO2 gas, which has a characteristic absorption “fingerprint” at λ = 4.27 μm. Capnographs are either built-in or can be plugged in (as an accessory) to three medical devices: continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, anesthesia machines, and ventilators. COVD-19 infections can result in severe pneumonia and if the pneumonia progresses to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the patient will be in mortal danger due to excessive fluid build-up the lungs. At that point, the best way to save the patent’s life is to place them on a ventilator. If the function of the ventilator can be controlled in response to a patient’s vital signs such as CO2 concentration in their breath, the ventilator operation can be automatic, thereby reducing the workload on attending nurses and physicians. Materion manufactures CO2 narrow passband filters, notch filters, beamsplitters and mirrors at λ = 4.27 μm. Materion offers filters and beamsplitters for the detection of other gases, including CO, CH4 and NO.
Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR)
Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) is a method used to sequence DNA. Sequencing the DNA of a virus is the definitive way to identify it. Considering that there are hundreds of known viruses in circulation, it is important to identify the COVD-19 virus and distinguish it with other, less dangerous viruses. Quantitative PCR methods use fluorescent dyes, such as Sybr Green, EvaGreen or fluorophore-containing DNA probes, such as TaqMan, to measure the amount of amplified product in real-time. The fluorescent dyes + sample pass through a fluorescence spectrometer. The spectrometer applies a series of discrete excitation wavelengths and detects the fluorescence emission of longer wavelengths. Materion manufactures narrowband filters in the UV and visible wavelengths used for both the emission and fluorescence wavelengths.
In conclusion, Materion Precision Coatings provides a broad range of mid-wave through long-wave IR gas sensing filters which can be customized. We also offer filter arrays, where multiple filters can be bonded into an array which allows a single detector to detect multiple gases. When gas sensor manufacturers need optical filters for life-critical applications in healthcare, they turn to Materion.
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