Is it possible to estimate the chemical composition of a fruit or vegetable in only a few seconds and without touching it? Can waste (wood, paper, fabric, plastics, etc.) be sorted according to its composition? The answer is yes, by using near infrared spectroscopy. This technique analyzes the interaction of light with products: a ray of light is sent to and reflected by the object. This produces spectra and reveals light absorption levels in relation to wavelength linked to the physical and chemical structure of the object being studied. Chemometric tools exist to process these spectra and transform the measurements into useful information.
CheMoocs: an original MOOC focusing on chemometrics
For the first time, a MOOC focusing on chemometrics is being offered from September 12 to November 10 on the FUN platform. Twenty contributors, all renowned chemometrics specialists, have contributed to the creation of this video-based course: professors, lecturers, engineers from Lille, Orléans, Montpellier, etc. Basic theory is presented and illustrated with examples taken from infrared spectroscopy and put into practice using chemometric data processing software.
The internationally recognized team (following Véronique Bellon-Maurel in 2008, Jean-Michel Roger will be awarded the 2016 Tomas Hirschfeld prize in early August) based at the Montpellier center will provide its expertise in both spectroscopy and chemometrics.
The MOOC has been designed for people who already know the meaning of “spectroscopy” and “chemometrics” and are interested in learning more:
- Students looking to refresh their knowledge before starting a Master’s or PhD program involving chemometrics.
- Students of mathematics interested in practical applications for matrix algebra.
- Engineering or master-level interns, or PhD students, who need to use chemometric tools regularly.
- Technicians who use spectroscopes and want to understand how their data is processed.
- Engineers or researchers developing rapid analysis methods, in laboratories or in the field.
“This MOOC is also an opportunity to network.” It is part of a more general project  led by Jean-Claude Boulet, senior research engineer at Inra in Montpellier, and Jean-Michel Roger, researcher specializing in chemometrics at Irstea Montpellier.
This project includes:
- The MOOC.
- The development of a free program (ChemFlow) specially designed by the Irstea team to facilitate chemometric data processing. The software needs no IT expertise (no command line). It also uses a web service and can therefore be run from any internet connected device. It will be used by learners to process their coursework for the MOOC, and will continue to be available after the MOOC has ended. “The ChemFlow program is quite revolutionary: the idea is to be able to connect from a smartphone or tablet and carry out high-level data processing tasks. It< can be used by any chemometrics teacher who wants their students to practice and will be used for MOOC coursework.”
- and the development of an open access database (still a work in progress)
“For several years, we have noticed an inexorable lack of chemometrics training available in France and a real need to provide support for researchers as well as technicians and manufacturers who use spectroscopes and want to understand how to process their data," notes Jean-Michel Roger. A welcome MOOC then!
View the MOOC teaser trailer
For more information
- Price. Near infrared spectroscopy: Irstea radiates success
- Innovation. A portable probe to measure carbon levels in fields
- Opinions Our scientists MOOC; how about you?
- Consult the web pages of the ITAP joint research unit and the Irstea Montpellier Center