24 October 2016 Fast sparse Raman spectral unmixing for chemical fingerprinting and quantification
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Abstract
Raman spectroscopy is a well-established spectroscopic method for the detection of condensed phase chemicals. It is based on scattered light from exposure of a target material to a narrowband laser beam. The information generated enables presumptive identification from measuring correlation with library spectra. Whilst this approach is successful in identification of chemical information of samples with one component, it is more difficult to apply to spectral mixtures. The capability of handling spectral mixtures is crucial for defence and security applications as hazardous materials may be present as mixtures due to the presence of degradation, interferents or precursors. A novel method for spectral unmixing is proposed here. Most modern decomposition techniques are based on the sparse decomposition of mixture and the application of extra constraints to preserve the sum of concentrations. These methods have often been proposed for passive spectroscopy, where spectral baseline correction is not required. Most successful methods are computationally expensive, e.g. convex optimisation and Bayesian approaches.

We present a novel low complexity sparsity based method to decompose the spectra using a reference library of spectra. It can be implemented on a hand-held spectrometer in near to real-time. The algorithm is based on iteratively subtracting the contribution of selected spectra and updating the contribution of each spectrum. The core algorithm is called fast non-negative orthogonal matching pursuit, which has been proposed by the authors in the context of nonnegative sparse representations. The iteration terminates when the maximum number of expected chemicals has been found or the residual spectrum has a negligible energy, i.e. in the order of the noise level. A backtracking step removes the least contributing spectrum from the list of detected chemicals and reports it as an alternative component. This feature is particularly useful in detection of chemicals with small contributions, which are normally not detected. The proposed algorithm is easily reconfigurable to include new library entries and optional preferential threat searches in the presence of predetermined threat indicators.

Under Ministry of Defence funding, we have demonstrated the algorithm for fingerprinting and rough quantification of the concentration of chemical mixtures using a set of reference spectral mixtures. In our experiments, the algorithm successfully managed to detect the chemicals with concentrations below 10 percent. The running time of the algorithm is in the order of one second, using a single core of a desktop computer.
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Mehrdad Yaghoobi, Mehrdad Yaghoobi, Di Wu, Di Wu, Rhea J. Clewes, Rhea J. Clewes, Mike E. Davies, Mike E. Davies, } "Fast sparse Raman spectral unmixing for chemical fingerprinting and quantification", Proc. SPIE 9995, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence XII, 99950E (24 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2241834; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2241834
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