Portable hyperspectral imagers enable real time decision-making in application areas such as threat detection, forensics, environmental and agricultural monitoring and biomedical screening. High spectral and spatial resolution provide far more actionable information than obtainable by multispectral imagers. High-resolution VNIR reflectance imagers characterize photosynthetic productivity via solar-induced fluorescence (SIF) monitoring, representing a substantial improvement over earlier multispectral analytics such as normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). Handheld Raman instruments enable high speed screening for explosives, narcotics and hazardous materials. A line scan/area imaging approach detects trace quantities of target materials, such as small particles of explosives or narcotics, within a bulk sample.
Raman spectral imaging is increasingly becoming the tool of choice for field-based applications such as threat, narcotics and hazmat detection; air, soil and water quality monitoring; and material ID. Conventional fiber-coupled point source Raman spectrometers effectively interrogate a small sample area and identify bulk samples via spectral library matching. However, these devices are very slow at mapping over macroscopic areas. In addition, the spatial averaging performed by instruments that collect binned spectra, particularly when used in combination with orbital raster scanning, tends to dilute the spectra of trace particles in a mixture. Our design, employing free space line illumination combined with area imaging, reveals both the spectral and spatial content of heterogeneous mixtures. This approach is well suited to applications such as detecting explosives and narcotics trace particle detection in fingerprints. The patented High Throughput Virtual Slit1 is an innovative optical design that enables compact, inexpensive handheld Raman spectral imagers. HTVS-based instruments achieve significantly higher spectral resolution than can be obtained with conventional designs of the same size. Alternatively, they can be used to build instruments with comparable resolution to large spectrometers, but substantially smaller size, weight and unit cost, all while maintaining high sensitivity. When used in combination with laser line imaging, this design eliminates sample photobleaching and unwanted photochemistry while greatly enhancing mapping speed, all with high selectivity and sensitivity. We will present spectral image data and discuss applications that are made possible by low cost HTVS-enabled instruments.
Remote sensing has moved out of the laboratory and into the real world. Instruments using reflection or Raman imaging modalities become faster, cheaper and more powerful annually. Enabling technologies include virtual slit spectrometer design, high power multimode diode lasers, fast open-loop scanning systems, low-noise IR-sensitive array detectors and low-cost computers with touchscreen interfaces. High-volume manufacturing assembles these components into inexpensive portable or handheld devices that make possible sophisticated decision-making based on robust data analytics. Examples include threat, hazmat and narcotics detection; remote gas sensing; biophotonic screening; environmental remediation and a host of other applications.
The Astrophysical Research Consortium Telescope Imaging Camera, ARCTIC, is a new optical imaging camera now in use at the Astrophysical Research Consortium (ARC) 3.5m telescope at Apache Point Observatory (APO). As a facility instrument, the design criteria broadly encompassed many current and future science opportunities, and the components were built for quick repair or replacement, to minimize down-time. Examples include a quick change shutter, filter drive components accessible from the exterior and redundant amplifiers on the detector. The detector is a Semiconductor Technology Associates (STA) device with several key properties (e.g. high quantum efficiency, low read-noise, quick readout, minimal fringing, operational bandpass 350-950nm). Focal reducing optics (f/10.3 to f/8.0) were built to control aberrations over a 7.8'x7.8' field, with a plate scale of 0.11" per 0.15 micron pixel. The instrument body and dewar were designed to be simple and robust with only two components to the structure forward of the dewar, which in turn has minimal feedthroughs and permeation areas and holds a vacuum <10-8 Torr. A custom shutter was also designed, using pneumatics as the driving force. This device provides exceptional performance and reduces heat near the optical path. Measured performance is repeatable at the 2ms level and offers field uniformity to the same level of precision. The ARCTIC facility imager will provide excellent science capability with robust operation and minimal maintenance for the next decade or more at APO.