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Proceedings Paper

Mid-infrared hyperspectral imaging for the detection of explosive compounds
Author(s): K. Ruxton; G. Robertson; W. Miller; G.P. A. Malcolm; G. T. Maker
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Paper Abstract

Active hyperspectral imaging is a valuable tool in a wide range of applications. A developing market is the detection and identification of energetic compounds through analysis of the resulting absorption spectrum. This work presents a selection of results from a prototype mid-infrared (MWIR) hyperspectral imaging instrument that has successfully been used for compound detection at a range of standoff distances. Active hyperspectral imaging utilises a broadly tunable laser source to illuminate the scene with light over a range of wavelengths. While there are a number of illumination methods, this work illuminates the scene by raster scanning the laser beam using a pair of galvanometric mirrors. The resulting backscattered light from the scene is collected by the same mirrors and directed and focussed onto a suitable single-point detector, where the image is constructed pixel by pixel. The imaging instrument that was developed in this work is based around a MWIR optical parametric oscillator (OPO) source with broad tunability, operating at 2.6 μm to 3.7 μm. Due to material handling procedures associated with explosive compounds, experimental work was undertaken initially using simulant compounds. A second set of compounds that was tested alongside the simulant compounds is a range of confusion compounds. By having the broad wavelength tunability of the OPO, extended absorption spectra of the compounds could be obtained to aid in compound identification. The prototype imager instrument has successfully been used to record the absorption spectra for a range of compounds from the simulant and confusion sets and current work is now investigating actual explosive compounds. The authors see a very promising outlook for the MWIR hyperspectral imager. From an applications point of view this format of imaging instrument could be used for a range of standoff, improvised explosive device (IED) detection applications and potential incident scene forensic investigation.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 October 2012
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 8546, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence VIII, 85460V (30 October 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.971185
Show Author Affiliations
K. Ruxton, M Squared Lasers Ltd. (United Kingdom)
G. Robertson, M Squared Lasers Ltd. (United Kingdom)
W. Miller, M Squared Lasers Ltd. (United Kingdom)
G.P. A. Malcolm, M Squared Lasers Ltd. (United Kingdom)
G. T. Maker, M Squared Lasers Ltd. (United Kingdom)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8546:
Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence VIII
Colin Lewis; Douglas Burgess, Editor(s)

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