An ultra-compact particle size analyser using a CMOS image sensor and machine learning

Rubaiya Hussain, Mehmet Alican Noyan, Getinet Woyessa, Rodrigo R. Retamal Marín, Pedro Antonio Martinez, Faiz M. Mahdi, Vittoria Finazzi, Thomas A. Hazlehurst, Timothy N. Hunter, Tomeu Coll, Michael Stintz, Frans Muller, Georgios Chalkias, Valerio Pruneri*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Light scattering is a fundamental property that can be exploited to create essential devices such as particle analysers. The most common particle size analyser relies on measuring the angle-dependent diffracted light from a sample illuminated by a laser beam. Compared to other non-light-based counterparts, such a laser diffraction scheme offers precision, but it does so at the expense of size, complexity and cost. In this paper, we introduce the concept of a new particle size analyser in a collimated beam configuration using a consumer electronic camera and machine learning. The key novelty is a small form factor angular spatial filter that allows for the collection of light scattered by the particles up to predefined discrete angles. The filter is combined with a light-emitting diode and a complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor image sensor array to acquire angularly resolved scattering images. From these images, a machine learning model predicts the volume median diameter of the particles. To validate the proposed device, glass beads with diameters ranging from 13 to 125 µm were measured in suspension at several concentrations. We were able to correct for multiple scattering effects and predict the particle size with mean absolute percentage errors of 5.09% and 2.5% for the cases without and with concentration as an input parameter, respectively. When only spherical particles were analysed, the former error was significantly reduced (0.72%). Given that it is compact (on the order of ten cm) and built with low-cost consumer electronics, the newly designed particle size analyser has significant potential for use outside a standard laboratory, for example, in online and in-line industrial process monitoring.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number21
    JournalLight: Science and Applications
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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