The basic physical phenomenon exploited by the VeriVin system is the Raman effect, which is the inelastic scattering of photons by molecules due to their vibrational modes. The detection of Raman scattering is an ideal technique for chemical identification. Our approach pushes the limits of this technique by performing a through-barrier analysis of a chemically complex liquid in a highly variable container by means of high sensitivity Raman spectroscopy. Raman signals are very low and hard to detect, as the associated excitation does not occur frequently per incoming laser photon. Adding to this, there is the difficulty of conducting this analysis through a sealed container. VeriVin systems overcome these difficulties and represent a significant innovation in this field.
The complexity in composition of the product analysed is also an important issue. In this context, wine is, for example, one of the most complex substances we know, made up of circa 85% water, 12-14% ethanol and 1-2% of hundreds of different organic molecules that give each wine its idiosyncratic tastes and smells. This makes wine a most challenging test substance, as the components of interest are present in very low concentrations. In addition, the wine lies behind a curved tinted wall of glass of variable thickness and composition that not only drowns out a high percentage of the signal but itself contributes to the overall signal.
VeriVin has successfully overcome the difficulties in classifying wine as well as being able to detect the fingerprint of other fluids like olive oils, honey, whisky, milk, perfumes, households and medicinal liquids – through both glass and plastic barriers. At this stage, we propose to extend on the learning accumulated so far to continue building a fully functioning digital tool for the automatic identification of the beverages and foods of interest, by the exploitation of chemometrics and machine learning techniques. This will require the creation of dedicated databases and specialised algorithms not currently available to the market or the general public.
VeriVin aims to be the first company in the world to undertake such a task and make it available commercially to producers, control bodies and the public alike.