imec combines VIS and NIR for hyperspectral camera system 

At SPIE Photonics West, imec showcased what it claims is the first multi-sensor hyperspectral camera system that covers both the visual and red / near infrared spectral ranges, and has a high resolution RGB sensor. 

Even in scenarios with inherent motion, the system supports data acquisition at video rate, said Imec and helps assess which spectral resolution and range best suit a given application using a single device.

Companies are investigating how hyperspectral imaging (HSI) technology can enhance product and / or service offerings, which can require testing several camera options. A challenge is to fuse the data from the various camera options into one dataset to analyse and draw conclusions.

Imec offers a series of hyperspectral snapshot cameras, each covering a specific spectral resolution and range – from the visual (VIS), over near-infrared (NIR), to short wave infrared (SWIR) ranges. All support real time data acquisition, even in motion, said Wouter Charle, program manager of imec’s spectral imaging on-chip activities.

The latest addition to the portfolio is the multi-shot VNIR+RGB – a multi-sensor system that covers the VIS to NIR spectral range, complemented with a high-resolution RGB sensor. The multi-sensor system is intended for companies and research groups engaging in HSI application development.

The hyperspectral camera comes with three sensors, integrated into a single housing, and equipped with a standard F-mount lens. It will allow partners to assess the pros and cons of different spectral resolutions and ranges without needing to invest in a myriad of devices or duplicate experiments, advised Imec.

Inside the camera, the light is directed to three channels. Two of them are equipped with an Imec off the shelf 2Mpixel sensor, covering the VIS and NIR spectral ranges. A third channel sports a high resolution RGB sensor. The camera system covers 30 bands in the 460 to 870nm range, complemented by a true colour, 5Mpixel image. These components work in sync at video rate speed for real time data acquisition (even of dynamic scenes).

It can help companies decide which sensor best suits their needs, said Imec. The system is flexible and is supplied with software. 

According to Imec, the hyperspectral camera systems can support an uncontrollably dynamic scene, such as assisted surgery, environmental monitoring, anomaly detection, automotive vision, precision agriculture and crop inspection.

Imec is a research and innovation centre in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. It leverages its R&D in advanced semiconductor and system scaling, silicon photonics, artificial intelligence, beyond 5G communications and sensing technologies, and in application domains such as health and life sciences, mobility, industry 4.0, agrofood, smart cities, sustainable energy and education.

Imec is headquartered in Leuven (Belgium), and has research sites across Belgium, in the Netherlands and the USA, and offices in China, India, Taiwan and Japan.

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