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Small hyperspectral imaging sol'n unveiled

Posted: 27 Jan 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:image sensor? hyperspectral camera? CMOS?

Imec has recently uncloaked a camera solution based on a system-on-chip image sensor with an integrated hyperspectral sensor. Imec's solution claims to be small, fast and enables cost-efficient multiple industrial vision applications.

Hyperspectral cameras combine spectroscopy and imaging, and by doing this, they can, for instance, discriminate between different objects that cannot be accurately distinguished using traditional red-green-blue (RGB) imaging methods. The technology can be very useful in many applications such as crop screening, food selection, skin cancer detection and target detection, noted Imec. However, the currently available hyperspectral cameras are large, expensive and slow.

hyperspectral camera

Imec's prototype camera boasts 100 spectral bands between 560nm and 1000nm.

Imec's CMOS compatible hyperspectral sensor consists of a set of spectral filters that are directly post-processed at wafer level on top of a commercially available CMOSIS CMV4000 image sensor (a 4MP sensor with a maximum framerate of 180fps). The hyperspectral filter from Imec has 100 spectral bands between 560nm and 1000nm. The filter bandwidth (Full Width Half Max) ranges from 3nm at 560nm to 20nm at 1000nm, and the transmission efficiency of the filters is about 85 percent. Typical integration times used in the current prototype setup are between 2ms and 10ms under 450W halogen light illumination. This indicates maximal frame rates can be achieved of up to 500fps.

Due to its integrated filter design and high spectral filter efficiency, the solution can obtain scanning speeds that are compatible with real industrial requirements, said Imec. The speed of the demonstrated system corresponds to an equivalent speed of 2,000 lines per second. To match specific application requirements, the image sensor can be selected (a commercially available sensor or even a custom-designed sensor), determining pixels sizes, maximal frame rate, etc. The hyperspectral filter can be tuned by changing the number of spectral bands and their spectral resolution, detailed Imec.

The prototype hyperspectral camera can capture all relevant data enabling automatic classification of different objects using modern image processing methods. Classification results of the device are equivalent to modern hyperspectral references and recorded spectra of, for example, plant material, added Imec.

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