A mid-infrared spectroscopic system using a high-speed wavelength-swept and pulsed quantum cascade laser (QCL) for healthcare applications such as blood glucose measurement is proposed. We developed an attenuated total reflection measurement system comprising the QCL with a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS)-scanning grating, hollow optical fibers, and InAsSb detector and tested its feasibility for healthcare applications. A continuous spectrum was obtained by integrating comb-shaped spectra, the timing of which was slightly shifted. As this method does not require complex calculations, absorption spectra are obtained in real-time. We found that the signal-to-noise ratio of the obtained spectrum had been improved by increasing the number of spectra that were integrated into the spectrum calculation. Accordingly, we succeeded in measuring the absorption spectrum of a 0.1% aqueous glucose solution. Furthermore, the absorption spectra of human lips were measured, and it was shown that estimation of blood glucose levels were possible using a model equation derived using a partial least squares regression analysis of the measured absorption spectra. The spectroscopic system based on the QCL with MEMS-scanning grating has the advantages of compactness and low cost over conventional Fourier transform infrared-based systems and common spectroscopic systems with a tunable QCL that has a relatively large, movable grating.
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