Multivariate Optical Elements (MOEs)

  • Wideband Optical Interference Filters with Application-Specific Spectral Patterns
  • Increase Sensitivity and Specificity of Analyte Detection
  • Fabricated for UV, Visible, and Infrared with Traditional Bandpass Filter Methods

Wideband, Analyte-Specific Spectral Response of an Example MOE

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Wideband Optical Filters for Efficient Analyte Detection

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Multivariate Optical Element Multiplication
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Example Optical Multiplication by a MOE; transmission t is at wavelength λ.
MOE Webinar

At the beginning of May 2019, Thorlabs welcomed Cirtemo and their Multivariate Optical Elements (MOEs) technology. This team has joined us as Thorlabs Spectral Works and has over 40 patents granted and perpetually licensed for the MOE technology. Please send all inquiries to


  • Detection of Powders, Liquids, Slurries, and Gases
  • Process Control (e.g. Pharmaceutical, Food and Beverage, Industrial)
  • Oceanic Monitoring
  • Life Sciences
Bandpass Filter vs MOE Comparison
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Bandpass Filter and MOE Comparison; the t1 and t2 correspond to the top image example.

Multivariate optical elements (MOEs) are wide-band optical spectral filters capable of sampling more spectral wavelengths than discrete bandpass filters. Manufactured using the same methods as traditional optical bandpass filters, MOEs have an optimized design that varies the thickness of the layers to achieve the desired transmission or reflection response. These specific spectral features provide a higher level of sensitivity and specificity for real-time chemical detection of analytes (e.g., powders, liquids, gases) with transmission signatures from 250 nm to 14 μm.

Chemometric analysis is used to determine a regression curve, which is encoded into the MOE. The MOE introduces a spectroscopic weighting of the incident signal to perform an optical multiplication (as shown above) of the application-specific regression and the unknown spectrum. The signals are then effectively summed by a detector. This simple setup eliminates the need to use a complex wavelength-sensitive instrument. The integration of MOEs enables spectroscopic optical systems to be smaller, lighter, and more resilient than lab-grade spectrometers, while achieving the same analyte detection capabilities.

MOEs can be integrated in almost any optical system where a traditional bandpass filter could be used, enhancing the capabilities of filter photometers, hyperspectral imagers, or application-specific sensors. MOE-enhanced photometers are ideal for in-line process monitoring, point-of-care clinical use, and incorporation into field-based instruments. Modeling can be used to determine the technical feasibility for specific applications before beginning design and fabrication of any MOEs. The Thorlabs Spectral Works team is eager to work cooperatively to design the right size, wavelength range, and spectral response of each MOE needed for a given application.

Thorlabs Spectral Works has also developed pattern transfer nanomanufacturing, which uses magnetic nanoparticles to create patterned optics with nanometer-scale features. Click here to learn more.

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