Photonics for the reduction of food waste


Photonics for reducing of food waste

Reducing food waste can be achieved by planning your meals, storing food properly, composting food scraps and donating excess non-perishable items. This is what you can do. But way before we even buy the food, photonics can already plan a role in reducing food waste. Here is how…

While growing

Farmers can use lasers and optical sensors to accurately monitor the health and ripeness of their crops. This allows for precise harvesting, ensuring that fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak freshness, minimizing spoilage in the field. Greenhouses can be equipped with special structured optical foils to let in more light. For indoor farming, light manipulation can be used to develop more energy-efficient and eco-friendly lighting systems. Using photonics, growers can make informed decisions and optimizing conditions for crop growth, resulting in better-quality produce that reaches our tables with less waste.


Before processing

We can use light to inspect and sort harvested fruits and vegetables more accurately and efficiently. These systems can identify imperfections, enabling us to separate high-quality produce from those that may spoil faster. Light can also help in monitoring and controlling the quality and freshness of the food, so fruits or vegetables can be sold or processed before it spoils, reducing the amount of food waste. Using photonics, processing food becomes most efficient as it enables non-invasive, high-speed quality checks for our food to provide information such as water, sugar and protein content.


During processing

Sorting and quality control systems can be used before processing to identify and remove imperfect or contaminated items from the production line. During processing, lasers and optical sensors can be used to inspect food products to ensure that only high-quality items are packaged, reducing the likelihood of spoilage. During packaging, innovative packaging materials can be used that block the light that degrades vitamins and flavours, thus maintaining food quality and extending shelf life.


During storage

Packaging can be equipped with smart labels with indicators that change color or provide digital readouts in response to factors like temperature, humidity, and gas levels within the packaging. Optical sensors can be used to control the temperature, humidity, and gas concentrations in storage facilities, to keep our food fresher for longer. 


At the consumer

Our smart devices, like smart phone, are already equipped with many different sensors. In some cases even already sensors that can be used for food analysis. With the right software and apps, these can be used to not only get more awareness in what we eat, but also when we should eat, so we can consume foods before they are spoiled.


Want to know more?

Photonics offers a range of tools and techniques that can be used to prevent food waste and improve the quality and safety of our food supply. 

By leveraging these technologies, we can reduce the amount of food that is wasted each year and help create a more sustainable food system.

Want to get in touch with companies supplying photonics based solutions o prevent food waste? Contact us at

Photonics for clean air

Clean Air Day website

Photonics for CLEAN AIR

By using the power of light, we can effectively monitor air quality

The importance of clean air

Clean air is essential for maintaining good health. Air pollution, especially of prolonged exposure, can have severe health effects and are associated with for instance respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and lung cancer. 

Clean air is also vital for preserving ecosystems and protecting wildlife. Air pollution can harm plant life, disrupt ecosystems, and contribute to acid rain, which can damage forests, bodies of water, and aquatic life. Reducing air pollution helps safeguard the environment and biodiversity. 

Therefore, it is crucial to monitor air quality and take action to prevent (further) exposure to poor air quality. Photonics plays a key role in the monitoring of air quality and in identifying the type of pollution as well as its source. 

The role of photonics

Photonics-based sensors can be designed to detect specific gases in the air, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). They can determine the presence and concentration of specific molecules based on their unique spectral fingerprints, which are specific absorption or emission patterns. 

Detection systems require a spectrometer or sensor that operates in the specific wavelength range corresponding to the gases that are being measured. For instance, CO2 has strong absorption bands in the infrared (IR) region of the electromagnetic spectrum. SO2, on the other hand, has absorption bands in the ultraviolet (UV) and visible regions of the spectrum. 

LiDAR can be used to monitor air quality over large areas and can provide real-time data on air quality. LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a remote sensing technology that uses laser light to measure distances and detect objects and can be used to identify pollution sources and track changes over time.

Photonics also enables the efficient transmission of data, which allows for fast and reliable transmission on air quality data from monitoring stations to decision-makers and the public, enhancing public awareness and allowing for quick response to deteriorating air quality.

Want to know more?

Want to get in touch with companies supplying components or systems for air quality monitoring?

Contact us at


Photonics for earth preservation

By harnessing the power of light, we can develop sustainable solutions to various environmental challenges.

In this post we are highlighting some of the ways photonics can contribute to preserving the planet:


Renewable Energy

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology converts sunlight into electricity, providing a clean and sustainable energy source. Improved photonic materials and devices can increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar panels, making solar energy more competitive with traditional energy sources.


Energy-efficient lighting

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are energy-efficient lighting technologies that consume less power and last longer than traditional incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. Widespread adoption of these technologies can reduce overall energy consumption.


Environmental monitoring

Photonic sensors can be used to detect and measure pollutants, greenhouse gases, and other environmental hazards in the air, water, and soil. This data can be used to identify sources of pollution, monitor the impact and provide important input for environmental policies and mitigation measures.


Precision agriculture

Photonic sensors and imaging technologies can be used to monitor soil, water, and crop health, allowing farmers to optimize the use of resources such as water, fertilizers, and pesticides. This can lead to higher crop yields, reduced environmental impact, and more sustainable agricultural practices.


Green networks

Optical communication technologies, such as fiber optics, can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional copper-based communication networks. Additionally, photonic integrated circuits can enable faster and more energy-efficient data processing in data centers, further reducing their environmental impact.


Clean manufacturing

By using laser-based methods, manufacturers can minimize waste, reduce material consumption, and eliminate the need for toxic chemicals used in traditional processing techniques. Additive manufacturing such as 3D printing methods enables complex and customized components, while reducing waste compared to traditional subtractive manufacturing methods.