Hyperspectral Imaging Camera: An Emerging Tool for Research

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is a method for capturing the full spectral and spatial information of a target/object. This information can then be utilized to identify and characterize the biological, chemical, and physical properties of the target/object.

An HSI camera typically consists of a spectrograph, which disperses the light from the scene into its component wavelengths, and a detector, which measures the intensity of light at each wavelength. The resulting hyperspectral image is a three-dimensional data cube,  with the spectral dimension representing the different wavelengths of light and the other two dimensions representing spatial information.

Thanks to their ability to provide a non-invasive and information-rich means of data collection, HSI cameras have become a valuable tool in various fields of research.

Vegetation and Agriculture

Originally used as a remote sensing tool, HSI is increasingly being used to study a wide range of topics in vegetation and agriculture research, including assessment of plant growth, stress, and nutritional status, mapping of soil properties, etc. The commonly used spectral ranges are the visible (VIS), near-infrared (NIR), and short-wave infrared (SWIR) regions. The VIS region can provide information on the plant’s photosynthetic pigments (e.g., chlorophylls and carotenoids). The NIR region can be used to study mesophyll cell structure, while the SWIR region can provide information on water absorption. Check out this video where a plant biologist and professor in biological spectral imaging at the University of Eastern Finland explains how he uses HSI camera to detect the presence of anthocyanin in plants.

Food Science

HSI is an established method for food quality and safety inspection. It is also widely utilized in many food research applications as it provides a non-destructive means of collecting detailed information about food. Visible and near-infrared (VNIR), NIR, and SWIR are some spectral regions used in various food research applications, such as studying the shelf life and ripeness of fruit and vegetables and assessing the quality of meat products. HSI can also be used to study the effect of cooking on food and the impact of different storage conditions on food quality. Watch this video to see how HSI is used to analyze the quality of meats without damaging it.

Medical Science

As HSI provides a non-invasive method of studying the target, it is increasingly being used as a diagnostic tool in medical research applications involving human well-being. It can be used to capture information about tissue health (e.g., blood circulation efficiency, oxygenation, etc.) and help with the wound (e.g., open, burn, etc.) and skin cancer diagnosis or even identify diabetic blood circulation problems. Watch this video to see how a doctor at the university hospital of Oulu uses a portable HSI camera to diagnose bruises and wounds.

Art and Cultural Heritage

A wide range of instrumentation technologies is commonly used by conservators, curators, etc., to collect information from cultural objects like paintings, manuscripts, maps, etc. The forefront of these instrumentation technologies is the HSI camera, which is increasingly being used for research, conservation, and authentication within the field of art and cultural heritage. It can help identify materials like pigments, dyes, and binding media, which help in observing possible degradation or changes, as well as understanding the technique and method used by the artists in the creation of their works. Check out this video to see how a researcher at the Institute of applied physics “Nello Carrara” (IFAC) in Florence uses HSI camera to make analysis for art conservation.

SPECIM Hyperspectral Imaging Solutions

Specim, a pioneer and global leader in the field of HSI, offers a wide selection of line-scan (pushbroom) hyperspectral cameras and solutions that are widely adopted by many researchers and scientists in various fields of research. From portable HSI camera Specim IQ and industrial FX series HSI cameras to airborne and remote sensing HSI systems covering spectral regions from VNIR to mid-wave infrared (MWIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR), HSI for research is made easy with Specim.

Need help finding the right HSI cameras and solutions for your research applications? Get in touch with our specialists for a free consultation now.