What is Hyperspectral Imaging?

This article provides a brief introduction to what hyperspectral imaging is, how it works and some of its applications.

Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) is a form of spectral imaging. Spectral imaging is imaging that uses multiple bands across the electromagnetic spectrum.

HSI is the collection and processing of spectral data. Utilising the technique of Spectroscopy, which is used to identify materials based on how light behaves when it hits a subject, hyperspectral imaging obtains multiple spectra of data for each pixel in the image of a scene. The wavelength ranges measured depends on the type of HSI camera (or sensor) used.

To put the capabilities of spectral imaging into context, it is best to compare spectral images to those taken by a regular camera. Standard cameras capture images within the “visible” bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, these visible bands consist of Red, Green and Blue (RGB). The photos captured by these cameras represent human vision, as we can only see the “visible” light from the electromagnetic spectrum. Spectral images can represent infrared, visible, ultra-violet, x-ray or some combination of all of these from the electromagnetic spectrum. This means that some things that would appear invisible to the human eye and a regular camera, are detectable though spectral imaging.

How does it work?

HSI collects and processes information across different bands of of the electromagnetic spectrum. Hyperspectral imaging sensors collect information as a set of images, allowing the identification of objects and materials through their individual characteristics which form a spectral “fingerprint”.

This “fingerprint”, or spectral signature, allows the identification of materials that make up the scanned area. For example, HSI sensors can be used to monitor crop stress in the visible & near-infrared range, using a UAV or gantry mounted sensor, to optimise crop growth and yield. Data collected with hyperspectral remote sensing technologies can be processed and interpreted immediately.

Examples Applications

HSI has many applications across agriculture, medicine, food processing, mineralogy, surveillance, astronomy, chemical imaging and environmental study. Find out more about a selection of example applications below.

Our Hyperspectral Imaging Systems

Analytik is the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor for Headwall Photonics, a market-leading manufacturer of hyperspectral imaging sensors and spectral instrumentation based in the US. Headwall Photonics’ spectral instrumentation is proven to deliver excellent results for end users and OEMs across industrial, commercial and government markets.

We provide complete airborne hyperspectral imaging solutions, including ground-based systems and UAVs, as well as lab-based packages. Our in-house specialists will also provide full installation and training, with expert manufacturer support from Headwall Photonics. For more information, please select one of the following options.


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