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  • Spectrometer Improves Dental Curing
Oct 2010
DUIVEN, The Netherlands, Oct. 15, 2010 — A spectroradiometrically calibrated USB4000 spectrometer from Ocean Optics is helping dentists to use curing lights more effectively to harden the white resin composites used to fill cavities.

The spectrometer is a key component of the Managing Accurate Resin Curing (Marc) system developed by Dr. Richard Price and researchers at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and commercialized through BlueLight analytics inc. Price has used Ocean Optics equipment in his laboratory since 2002 to measure the output from dental curing lights. The results of his research have been published in 15 papers internationally.

BlueLight analytics’s Marc system uses an Ocean Optics USB4000 spectrometer to accurately measure the output from dental curing lights.

Marc measures the useful energy a simulated resin restoration receives from a dental curing light, a procedure that is affected by the location of the tooth, the type of resin used, the output of the curing light and the accuracy of the practitioner. Too much or too little exposure of the curing light to the restoration can lessen the lifetime of the filling and potentially damage the tooth. With the Marc system, which includes a laboratory-grade, NIST-referenced USB4000 spectrometer, dental researchers, educators, manufacturers and clinicians can more accurately measure the irradiance (in mW/cm2) and energy per unit area (in J/cm2) delivered by various curing lights in the hands of different dental professionals.

Slightly larger than a mobile phone, the miniature fiber optic USB4000 spectrometer uses a 3648-element Toshiba linear CCD array detector and high speed electronics. For the Marc system, the spectrometer has been spectroradiometrically calibrated using Ocean Optics’ NIST-traceable light source (300 to 1050 nm). Marc also uses the CC3-UV cosine corrector to collect radiation over 180º field of view. This collection device helps mitigate the effects of optical interference associated with light collection sampling geometry – for example, the distance of the light to the restoration.

According to Colin Deacon, president and CEO of BlueLight analytics, the potential impact of Marc is great, with 130 million restorations performed each year in the US alone. Selection of the optimum spectrometer manufacturer for the project was critical. “We chose Ocean Optics because of its superior products and customer service,” Deacon said. “We tried some other manufacturers, but there is no question why Ocean Optics is the most widely used and respected manufacturer of miniature spectrometers in the industry.”

In developing Marc, BlueLight worked closely with Ocean Optics’ OEM Engineering Team, which helps customers bring products to market faster and better optimized to commercial requirements. The team offers complete system design capability for OEMs from supply of fiber assemblies and light sources to sensor coatings and sample holders. Ocean Optics is ISO 9001:2008 certified and can support both integrated system and subsystem manufacturing needs.

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Radiant flux incident per unit area of a surface. Also called radiant flux density.
A kind of spectrograph in which some form of detector, other than a photographic film, is used to measure the distribution of radiation in a particular wavelength region.  
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