For $50, convert your phone into a powerful chemical, pathogen detector

A team of scientists managed to install onto a smartphone a spectrometer that's capable of identifying specific molecules — with cheap parts you can buy online.

  • Spectroscopy provides a non-invasive way to study the chemical composition of matter.
  • These techniques analyze the unique ways light interacts with certain materials.
  • If spectrometers become a common feature of smartphones, it could someday potentially allow anyone to identify pathogens, detect impurities in food, and verify the authenticity of valuable minerals.
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