Imec has developed a process for the monolithic integration of optical filters on top of CMOS image sensors, leading to compact, cost-efficient and faster hyperspectral cameras. Different prototype sensors are available, most notably a 600- 1000 nm line-scan imager, and two mosaic sensors: a 4x4 VIS (470-620 nm range) and a 5x5 VNIR (600-1000 nm). In response to the users’ demand for a single sensor able to cover both the VIS and NIR ranges, further developments have been made to enable more demanding applications. As a result, this paper presents the latest addition to imec’s family of monolithically-integrated hyperspectral sensors: a line scan sensor covering the range 470-900 nm. This new prototype sensor can acquire hyperspectral image cubes of 2048 pixels over 192 bands (128 bands for the 600- 900 nm range, and 64 bands for the 470-620 nm range) at 340 cubes per second for normal machine vision illumination levels.
Spectral imaging can reveal a lot of hidden details about the world around us, but is currently confined to laboratory environments due to the need for complex, costly and bulky cameras. Imec has developed a unique spectral sensor concept in which the spectral unit is monolithically integrated on top of a standard CMOS image sensor at wafer level, hence enabling the design of compact, low cost and high acquisition speed spectral cameras with a high design flexibility. This flexibility has previously been demonstrated by imec in the form of three spectral camera architectures: firstly a high spatial and spectral resolution scanning camera, secondly a multichannel snapshot multispectral camera and thirdly a per-pixel mosaic snapshot spectral camera. These snapshot spectral cameras sense an entire multispectral data cube at one discrete point in time, extending the domain of spectral imaging towards dynamic, video-rate applications. This paper describes the integration of our per-pixel mosaic snapshot spectral sensors inside a tiny, portable and extremely user-friendly camera. Our prototype demonstrator cameras can acquire multispectral image cubes, either of 272x512 pixels over 16 bands in the VIS (470-620nm) or of 217x409 pixels over 25 bands in the VNIR (600-900nm) at 170 cubes per second for normal machine vision illumination levels. The cameras themselves are extremely compact based on Ximea xiQ cameras, measuring only 26x26x30mm, and can be operated from a laptop-based USB3 connection, making them easily deployable in very diverse environments.