NIR spectroscopy startup spins out of Manchester

NIR spectroscopy startup spins out of Manchester

News |
By Peter Clarke

PhovIR Technologies Ltd. is a spin-off from the University of Manchester that is developing a near-infrared (NIR) sensor for spectroscopy.

The company was founded in 2023 by Tim Echtermeyer, Reader in the Microelectronics and Nanostructures Research Group in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Manchester.

According to the University of Manchester Innovation Factory website, the company has proprietary MEMS technology it uses for a NIR optical sensor that can be integrated into handheld devices to provide spectral analysis. This is applicable to such application areas as: healthcare monitoring, agriculture and crop management, food safety, environmental monitoring, hazardous material detection.

The site also mentions analytical software that provides real-time analysis. No detail is provided of the underlying sensor technology but Echtermeyer has co-authored a number of papers on the use of graphene-silicon-on-insulator Schottky diodes as near infrared photodetectors.

PhovIR shows certain similarities to Spectral Engines Oy which was spun out of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in 2014 to continue the development and application of MEMS-based tunable Fabry-Perot interferometers. Spectral raised about €4.9 million (about US$5.7 million) in its time as a private company before being taken over by m-u-t AG in 2018  and placed in the Nynomic subsidiary (see German tech firm takes control of Spectral Engines).

Another NIR spectroscopy developer is MantiSpectra BV (Eindhoven, The Netherlands), founded in 2020. It has raised €4 million in venture capital in a seed round of funding.

MantiSpectra was founded to commercialize near-infrared sensor research conducted at the Technical University of Eindhoven (see Miniature near-infrared sensor fits in a smartphone). The company’s ChipSense is a small NIR multi-pixel sensor that replaces or augments traditional bulky spectrometers. With the addition of artificial intelligence, MantiSpectra’s platform enables rapid material composition analysis at the edge.

Phovir is reportedly part of a second cohort of UK startups being incubated under the ChipStartUK scheme.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Edinburgh startup gains support for SPAD-based imaging

Spectrometry sensor startup MantiSpectra raises funds

Smartphone, AI and infrared spectroscopy to analyze textiles

German tech firm takes control of Spectral Engines

VTT to spin-off MEMS-based spectrometer startup

Miniature near-infrared sensor fits in a smartphone

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