Biyans developed a hand-held prototype that can investigate the elemental contents of unknown samples. In order to survey the elemental contents, the device uses a mechanism based on the laser induced breakdown spectroscopy method. The device should also have a strong algorithm and precise database in order to detect elemental content more accurately. Biyans has applied for a patent for the first prototype designed. Now, working on the third prototype which can detect specific elements, namely N, P, K in soil, quantitatively. Qualitative analysis can only determine the elemental contents of the materials, but with the help of the results from known samples, the algorithm can even determine the amount of the elements of unknown samples.
Stephan Haefele and his group at Rothamsted Research are working on a range of dry spectral methods for soil, plant and fertiliser analysis. In comparison with existing wet chemistry methods, dry spectral methods are faster, cheaper, non-destructive, and do not need fully equipped laboratories with good supply lines for analytical grade chemicals and other necessary supplies. These technologies also enable analysis in the field using handheld devices which would make precision farming a real option for farmers.
The partnership between these parties are covering; spatial distribution of soil nutrients and soil organic matter status in the field and adjust the use of external inputs like fertilisers, organic amendments or lime accordingly. This optimizes the use efficiency of such inputs, increases yields and reduces losses and costs, thereby improving the income of farmers and making their farming practices more sustainable. The goals of partners can be summarised as (1) the establishment of LIBS machine as an analytical tool for soil analysis for use both in the laboratory and in the field and (2) to combine the LIBS with MIR/NIR as the new analytical standard for covering physical and chemical soil analysis.