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Importance of Near Infrared (NIR) Technology

by georgemelcher

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If you’ve been listening to your science teacher, you probably know that Sir Frederick William Herschel, who was a musician and astronomer from Germany, became famous after he discovered Uranus in 1781 while using a telescope to study the stars. But did you know that he was also the first person to identify infrared rays? Among his scientific discoveries, it seems that infrared is the one with the most practical applications. The following are some fields in which industrial NIR (near infrared) devices are considered essential:

Agriculture: Quality Control of Produce

Optical devices that use NIR technology helps in evaluating the quality of agricultural products. NIR light is passed through items such as eggs, meat, grains, and vegetables to check whether they meet the set standards and are safe for consumption. NIR is preferable to other wavelengths because it’s accurate, non-destructive, and cost-efficient.

Medical: Non-invasive Blood Studies and Diagnostic Imaging

Doctors no longer need to draw a patient’s blood to determine oxygen saturation, flow, and volume. A good example is the device called “pulse oximeter” which only needs to be placed on fingertips or earlobes to assess an individual’s blood hemoglobin levels. NIR is also used for neuroimaging to evaluate brain activity and function.

Chemical: Assuring the Purity and Stability of Substances

Elements and compounds can become highly unstable if not monitored closely. Thus, effective near infrared transmission through a substance is helpful in identifying undesirable chemical reactions, contamination, and inconsistencies. NIR analyzers in chemical plants ensure that end products are high-quality and safe.

Pharmaceutical: Right Dosage and Right Composition

Medicine tablets, capsules, and other preparations must have the right dose and ingredients to become potent. Through NIR spectrometers, quality can be maintained beginning with the raw material processing until the packaging. NIR equipment is utilized to guarantee content uniformity and analyze particle size and granulation, which are physical properties that can affect a drug’s effectiveness.

Other than the industries enumerated above, NIR is also applied in areas like astronomy, aviation, and the military. These days, scientists and researchers are still studying NIR and finding more ways to harness its capabilities and potential. If you want to learn more about NIR, you can visit

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