To better identify, detect, or analyze the properties of materials, we must first examine how light interacts with the materials based on their spectral signatures. The spectral signatures of every material are different, much like our fingerprint for its unique identification, and can be identified from the spectrum of the material to understand the amount of light reflected, transmitted, or emitted at different wavelengths.
Spectral imaging is a technique that combines spectral measurement with digital imaging. Unlike a standard camera that captures light in red, blue, and green within the visible spectrum, a spectral imaging camera can capture light in small wavelengths starting from the UV and through the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum. Their wide-spectrum capability allows easy identification and separation of visually indistinguishable substances in a material by their color or chemical difference.
Spectral imaging can be categorized into Multispectral Imaging (MSI) and Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI). The main difference between MSI and HSI is their spectral resolution. An HSI camera measures light in numerous narrow bands of wavelength continuously, while an MSI camera measures only a discrete number of wavelength bands.
An HSI camera offers a higher spectral resolution that allows users to distinguish much finer details. With their high sensing capability, HSI cameras are ideal for many types of applications. For example, they can be used to sort food or waste, detect and classify skin lesions, or even analyze plant diseases and stress.
While there are many applications, Most HSI cameras are only used in dedicated laboratory settings due to their bulky size and cost. Today, with the advancement in hyperspectral technology, HSI cameras like Specim IQ are becoming much more affordable and compact. The Specim IQ is a portable line-scan HSI camera that is suitable for both laboratory and on-site usage. Operating the Specim IQ is simple with its camera-like useability; Point at the target, define the measurement settings, and record the measurement.
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