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The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is a leader in developing innovative photonics solutions, including development of robust optical scene imaging/projection/generation that can acquire both spectral and spatial features from a scene of interest, particularly for the detection of chemical and biological agents.
Hyperspectral scene projection/generation systems can be used for, among other benefits, insight into the ability to detect and identify minerals, terrestrial vegetation, and man-made materials and backgrounds at various wavelengths. However, traditional hyperspectral imagers need to capture scene information for each wavelength of interest by physically moving elements of the imager across the scene, a process that can be time-consuming. The new ARL hyperspectral scene projection/generation system can perform more efficiently and with greater speed and flexibility since it uses a broadband source to capture 2-dimensional, full image scenes for each wavelength using an electronic tunable filter. This dramatically reduces computation time (from minutes down to 10 microseconds) and requires no moving parts. Additional benefits include: wavelengths can be selected sequentially or randomly; more than one wavelength can be used; and a user is free to generate as few or as many spectral scene images as the application demands.
The invented system and methods can be practiced from the ultraviolet to the longwave infrared. It can also be used to improve the definition and accuracy of hyperspectral imaging through the processing of collected polarization signatures. A prototype device has been built, tested, and can be made available.
- Superior processing scheme reduces generation/projection time from minutes to 10 microseconds
- Flexible modes of operation in terms of wavelength selectivity, spectral scene generation
- Facilitates economic rates of analyses for production lines, inspection services
- Diverse markets including food processing, pharmaceuticals, forensics, agriculture, homeland security, military, health care, and print and ink analysis
- US Patent 7,733,484 available for license and commercialization
- Prototype available
- Potential collaboration with US Army inventor and laboratory