InvenTeams – Blog #7

Alex, Nathan, and Brock


Our  Science fair project is on implementation of a spectrometer in Automobiles to detect blood alcohol content. In this project we will be using micro level spectroscopy. The following passage is from our research plan  on micro level Spectroscopy:

Micro level spectroscopy is when they use NIR wavelengths to see things like blood cells and reads the cell to be able to help a patient. Some of the most common examples of uses for NIR on the micro scale are: blood sugar, pulse oximetry, functional neuroimaging, sports medicine, elite sports training, ergonomics, rehabilitation, neonatal research, brain computer interface, urology (bladder contraction), and neurology (neurovascular coupling). One example usage is a blood alcohol sensor the the KSA is currently working on implementing. The process of using a NIR spectrophotometer works to find the BAC by identifying molecules containing alcohol, based on how much light they absorb or their lack of absorption. Silver Nitrate is used as a catalyst, to induce the oxidation of Ethanol Alcohol into Carboxylic Acid and utilizes Potassium Dichromate as an oxidizing agent. This reaction occurs rapidly, making the process time efficient, gaining advantage over urine and blood tests in speed. The Potassium Dichromate reacts to Ethanol oxidation, leading to a chromate ion change and leads to the change of color intensity (BAC Measured Using NIR, 2017). The spectrophotometer then compares its light absorbance with that of a pure solution; one can quickly and accurately measure the amount of alcohol present in a system (BACtrack, 2017). Since the spectrophotometer is able to decipher between different contents, it can determine the difference between alcohol, water, and other liquids in a molecule, leading to an accurate and quick diagnosis. This shows the immense practicality of NIR and how it can be used to further medical research, as well as integrated into technology to help make the world a better and safer place.


This passage explains how the spectrometer works, and how we are planning on implementing it into a sensor that works in a car. Recently our school science fair was held and we were able to present our concept and current placement research with many people in the community. This was a great opportunity for us to share out how was are planning to advance in the very near future. Along with working on building the second prototype, our team has rented a commercial spectrometer that we will be able to gather data from and use to calibrate our second model of our invention. Furthermore, we are look to keep advancing our work in finding the alcohol spectrum and being as precise as possible.