QCL Dual-comb Spectroscopy for Density and Melt Flow Rate Prediction of Polyethylene

Apr 19, 2023
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The high variety of tailor-fitted molecular structures of Polyethylene (PE) can fulfill the requirements of various applications, however, it also poses difficulty in the mechanical recycling of post-consumer PE products. To improve the quality and facilitate higher recycling rates for PE, density and melt flow rate (MFR) based separation is essential. Therefore, attenuated total reflectance (ATR)-FTIR, laboratory NIR, an industrial sorting line NIR, and dual comb infrared spectroscopy (DCS-IR) results of 26 virgin PE grades, were used to build partial least square regression (PLS) models.

ATR-FTIR and laboratory NIR spectroscopy provided sufficient information to predict the density value of PE, whereas the MFR assessments were not possible. The industrial NIR PLS model only allows the density-based classification of virgin PE grades. The PLS models built from transmission and reflectance DCS-IR of a few selected samples clearly show that density and MFR prediction can be carried out with high accuracy. As small measurement volumes are achievable with DCS-IR, it is well suited for coupling to microfluidic assemblies concentrating microplastics to classify the polymers.

*** This presentation premiered during the 2023 Photonics Spectra Spectroscopy Conference. For more information on Photonics Media conferences, visit

About the presenter

Markus GeiserMarkus Geiser, Ph.D., is co-founder and managing director of IRsweep, Switzerland. He holds a doctorate from ETH Zurich, during which he was working on strong light-matter interaction of low-dimensional electron gases and THz quantum cascade lasers in the group of Jérôme Faist, Ph.D. He previously studied physics at TU Munich, Germany and Harvard University, USA in the group of Federico Capasso, Ph.D. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst charter holder.
MaterialsspectroscopyTest & Measurementpolyethylenedual comb spectroscopy
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