OnePlanet Research Center’s Lex Oosterveld speaks at the PIC Summit Europe about the role that photonic chips can play in agriculture.
The PIC Summit is the annual conference on photonic integrated circuits (PICs), this year in Eindhoven on 7 and 8 November. Photonics is the use of photons (light) to transmit information. Photonic chips make it possible to develop smaller sensors, which have the potential to be cheaper, more reliable and more energy-efficient. This makes the use of sensor technology in agriculture and food production, for example, more attractive.
Lex Oosterveld, principal scientist at OnePlanet, presents a roadmap for the use of photonic chips in agriculture, which he has compiled together with Yannick Weesepoel of Wageningen University & Research. In addition, he will participate in a panel discussion ‘Sensing With PICs: Closing The Gaps Between Technology & Markets In Agrifood’ moderated by Carol de Vries of PhotonDelta, the initiators of growth fund PhotonDelta (a Growth Fund is a subsidy programme for innovation from the government, ed.). It involves working with some forty partners to make the Netherlands a leader in the photonic chip industry.
Development of applications within Smart Agriculture and Food processing
In the Growth Fund, OnePlanet is participating in the development of five applications within the themes of Smart Agriculture and Food processing. Oosterveld: “These are important themes within OnePlanet. The aim is to contribute to a healthy, sustainable and efficient food system for the future, with which billions of mouths can be fed.” OnePlanet is working closely with founding partner imec, where technological building blocks for photonic chips are being developed.
A spearhead within these themes is to reduce food loss in the chain. This can be done, for example, with better monitoring of ripeness of fruit and vegetables, by using sensor technology to harvest at exactly the right time. Another spearhead is to monitor the growth of plants at a detailed level, in order to know which nutrients are needed for good growth. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” says Oosterveld. “Photonics and sensor technology can also be used in other (factory) processes in the food sector.”
An example of an application that OnePlanet is working on within the Growth Fund is measuring glucose levels in apples to monitor ripeness. Another is the precise measurement of protein compositions in foods.
Find the link to the program here (https://www.picsummiteurope.com/).