Qualitative identification of food materials by complex refractive index mapping in the terahertz range

Apr 15, 2018

Shin, Hee Jun, Sung-Wook Choi, and Gyeongsik Ok.


We investigated the feasibility of qualitative food analysis using complex refractive index mapping of food materials in the terahertz (THz) frequency range. We studied optical properties such as the refractive index and absorption coefficient of food materials, including insects as foreign substances, from 0.2 to 1.3 THz. Although some food materials had a complex composition, their refractive indices were approximated with effective medium values, and therefore, they could be discriminated on the complex refractive index map. To demonstrate food quality inspection with THz imaging, we obtained THz reflective images and time-of-flight imaging of hidden defects in a sugar and milk powder matrix by using time domain THz pulses. Our results indicate that foreign substances can be clearly classified and detected according to the optical parameters of the foods and insects by using THz pulses.