Process analysis and development of measurement technology

In this research area, rapid spectroscopic and calorimetric measurement technologies are developed and applied in inline and online process analysis, for the design, diagnostics and control of chemical processes, and for the characterization of rapid reactions.

Process design and diagnostics

At Fraunhofer ICT, inline and online process analysis is carried out in the design and optimization of chemical processes. Vibrational spectroscopy (Raman, mid-infrared and near-infrared spectroscopy) and absorption spectroscopy (UV/Vis) are used individually or in combination, and are adapted to the chemical process. The data collected in these analyses can help to optimize processes, ensuring the high and consistent quality of the product, and reducing costs.

Especially where microreaction technology is applied, adapted process measurement technologies enable processes to be monitored with a high temporal and spatial resolution. In process development this allows systematic screening of different process parameters, including some that were previously not accessible. Besides process diagnosis and optimization, process analytical data are also used for the active control and monitoring of chemical processes. This enables both quality control and the early detection and counteracting of critical process states, which is particularly relevant to the process safety.

© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Fraunhofer MAVO »KompLas«

Compact, widely tunable infrared laser source for spectroscopic process control and diagnostics

© Photo Fraunhofer IAF

In this project a compact and process-suited measurement system in the mid-infrared range is being developed. It is based on a new, rapidly tunable, miniaturized IR laser source, which combines quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) with optical micro-gratings (MOEMS). This enables a high spectral brightness and a high scanning speed. The inline analysis system is used in demanding applications such as chemical process control, food quality assurance and medical breath gas analysis. The system will be applied in chemical process analysis and control for fine and specialty chemistry at Fraunhofer ICT. The aim is to intensify and optimize processes through reaction and process engineering, using novel, high-performance MIR inline process analysis in combination with continuous process technology.

Continuous reaction calorimetry

Fraunhofer ICT develops continuously operating reaction calorimeters based on microreactors, which permit the rapid screening of thermokinetic key data. A variety of process parameters can be tested within a short timeframe, and their influence on the heat generation and thermal reactions can be recorded in real-time. The influence of the individual process parameters (e. g. concentration, stoichiometry, the use of alternative reactants, temperature, residence time) on the reaction rate can be monitored and quantified directly by observing the altered heat signal. Besides a rapid screening of relevant processing parameters, the small reactor volume means that critical processing conditions (worst case scenarios) can be tested precisely and safely with a minimum use of materials.

We supply measurement systems with the requested specifications and equipment to enable our customers to perform their own research. We also carry out further developments of the calorimetric measuring systems for specific reaction processes and new application fields, according to our customers' requirements. The spatial and temporal resolution of the heat flow measurement can be adapted to suit the intended application.

© Photo Fraunhofer ICT

Development of measurement technology

We develop hardware and software solutions for optical and spectroscopic applications, ranging from motion analysis and the characterization of combustion processes through to process analysis and control. We also provide support in solving any problems relating to measurement technology.