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SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence 2014 news

 

Amsterdam bicycles

Bicycle-friendly Amsterdam hosted SPIE Remote Sensing and SPIE Security + Defence 2014, a multidisciplinary forum for the latest research in signal processing, electro-optical system design, nanoengineering, and lasers for imaging and sensing applications.

 

Thursday 25 September

Enhanced tracking in urban areas

Miniaturizing for monitoring crops -- and more

Detecting airborne toxins

Wednesday 24 September

Managing water resources

High-power laser R&D

Fusing data from multiple sensors

TNO celebrates 50 years

Posters and networking

Dinner cruise

Tuesday 23 September

50 years of space instrumentation

Avoiding lightning

Fiber lasers in disaster management

Detecting IEDs

Connecting at the exhibition

Monday 22 September

Remembrance: Piet Schwering

Kingslake winners honored

Moore's law and lithography tools

Imaging and surveillance

Welcome to Amsterdam!

 


Thursday 25 September

 

Enhanced tracking in urban areas

Tracking the position of vehicles in dense urban environments using global positioning satellite (GPS) and inertial navigation Systems (INS) can prove challenging. GPS signals can be blocked by urban features such as tall buildings, and INS are subject to drift over time. Utilizing other sensors and information to augment GPS and INS tracking of vehicles was the subject of a presentation by Marcel Ruizenaar from TNO entitled, “Encounter detection to improve navigation of unattended vehicles” (9248-33). Ruizenaar explored the use of encounter information for tracking vehicles.

Although the use of encounters by themselves was shown to be insufficient for tracking purposes, the use of encounter data to supplement GPS and INS data and to account for INS drift in the absence of GPS does improve tracking accuracy. This work demonstrates the value of fusing data from multiple sensing modalities to provide a complete picture of a scenario which, in this case, is a more accurate tracking of vehicles in urban settings.

In a subsequent presentation, Danny Maat of TNO discussed the use of relative distance measurements to enhance tracking information in his paper “Range measurement to improve navigation in a group of unattended vehicles” (9248-31). Both presentations were part of the Unmanned/Unattended Sensors and Sensor Network conference, part of SPIE Security + Defence.

Echoing the concerns on INS drift and adding that GPS is only as accurate as its map information, Maat described an active ranging system designed, built and tested at TNO. The unit features an outdoor range of 600m and an indoor range of 60m, with positioning errors on the order of 1cm. Update rate is 10Hz. Based on frequency-modulated continuous-wave radar technology, the system leverages the property of that technology such that frequency offset varies linearly with time differential between the two signals. Two vehicles encountering each other can then synchronize on the other, measure the frequency shift of the other’s signal and communicate that information to allow a calculation of relative distance and speed which can then be used to update tracking information. A field test of the system demonstrated 10cm positioning accuracy.

Like the previous study also conducted at TNO, this project demonstrates the value of utilizing different sensors in combination to provide accurate information and a more complete mapping of vehicle location.

 

Miniaturizing for monitoring crops -- and more

The increasing deployment of micro- and nanosatellites provides opportunities for remote sensing instrumentation in a variety of applications if it can be miniaturized to the appropriate form factor.

Marco Esposito of cosine Research B.V. described the concept and design of one such instrument, a miniaturized hyperspectral imager coined “HyperCube,” in his presentation, “Hypercube: enabling hyperspectral imaging from nanosatellites” (9241-58). The talk was given as part of SPIE Remote Sensing.

Designed for use in applications such as monitoring vegetation, assessing crop water needs, determining fire hazards, and mapping flood-zone boundaries, the unit should enable change detection and provide early warning signals for situational analysis. The unit will have a spectral range of 450-1000nm with a spectral resolution of 5-10nm. It features onboard data handling and utilizes a small form factor multi-input acquisition board with an integrated FPGA.

With a mass less than 2kg, a size of less than 100mm on an edge, and utilizing only 15W of power, the unit will be ideal for deployment on miniature satellites such as CubeSats. While still in the design phase, this program demonstrates that miniaturizing this technology can enable deployment in an increasing number of applications and makes it accessible to a wider community of users.

 

Detecting airborne toxins

Characterizing gas clouds is a challenging task given that these systems are typically large, non-homogeneous and dynamic. The work is valuable since such clouds may contain toxic chemicals which have both environmental and public safety implications.

In his presentation, “Airborne midwave and longwave infrared hyperspectral imaging of gases” (9242-23), during SPIE Remote Sensing, Marc-André Gagnon of Telops described a system for characterizing such phenomena.

Airborne measurement has the benefit over ground-based systems of not only being able to scan large ranges but being able to do so from further, presumably safer, distances.

Gagnon described the use of a hyperspectral unit compatible with midwave IR, 3-5µm wavelength, and longwave IR, 8-12 µm, sensors. The system can be operated in a mapping mode with a movable mirror scanning an area or in a targeting mode where the mirror repeatedly scans the same area thereby providing valuable information on cloud evolution, direction and velocity.

Several examples were provided including a high-resolution mapping of Québec City and target-map imaging of incinerators and an operating aluminum smelter. The latter studies provided quantitative information of the cloud behavior as well as showing scattering effects due to water condensation resulting from rapid gas cooling in the incinerator example. The capability detailed in this study demonstrates another potential use of hyperspectral imaging, a technology which continues to find applications in a variety of spaces.

 


Wednesday 24 September

 

Managing water resources

Effective management of water resources is a critical task in rural and developing areas particularly given the continued competition for access to this valuable resource by multiple water users. Strategies to address these needs must be data driven.

In his presentation, "River basin scale water accounting for the planning of irrigated agriculture" (9239-24), Wim Bastiaanssen of the International Water Management Institute discussed using remote sensing data to develop a water accounting method to enable quantitative analysis of water use allowing for data-driven decision making.

The talk noted that one challenge in building such an accounting method is that data sources can prove difficult to access since users may be reluctant to share information and, once accessed, data sources are often incomplete.

Batiaanssen described the fusing of data from multiple sources such as rainfall products, evapotranspiration tables, biomass production tables, and hydrological models to build a balance sheet for water use in a given area. When applied to the Incomati basin, the analysis showed that although sugar cane farming did consume a high amount of water as expected, wetlands consumed a similar amount and plantations consumed several times as much as either of these users.

This conclusion differs somewhat from common perception regarding the extent of water use for sugar cane and shows the value of quality data collection and analysis.

In sum, the work done by Batiaanssen and his co-workers shows the power of remote sensing data when applied to analyze important problems like water usage and enable intelligent, data-driven decisions.

 

High-power laser R&D

Lawrence GrimesAn overview of the High Energy Laser Joint Technology Office by Lawrence Grimes, Director of the Office, was the focus of his talk, "High-power laser research and development" (9251-1). The presentation was a keynote talk in the Technologies for Optical Countermeasures conference, part of SPIE Security + Defence.

Established in fiscal year 2000, the office coordinates the U.S. approach for high-energy laser (HEL) technology development. Such lasers must provide precision engagement at a distance, low collateral damage and robust, reliable performance in a compact footprint that delivers appropriate power at the target surface. Thrust areas include laser devices, beam control, and advanced concepts.

In the area of laser devices, more efficient and smaller-footprint lasers are needed to enable migration from large platforms such as naval vessels to land vehicles, and eventually to aircraft.

Focus today is on all-electric sources with opportunities identified including improved high-power fibers, combining multiple fibers, and ceramic materials. Near-term plans include extending the operational range and maturing the components to enable a >100kW source.

Further out, plans include diode-pumped alkali lasers. In terms of beam control, the system must efficiently transmit high optical power and focus to a spot on the target while dealing with effects such as platform jitter and atmospheric turbulence.

Opportunities exist in providing unobscured telescopes, imaging cameras, deformable mirrors, and wavefront sensors. Optics and particularly optical coatings along with alignment sensors are key technologies in this area moving forward. The third thrust area, advanced concepts, explores immature laser sources and advanced materials.

Major programs conducted by the office include the Joint High Power Solid State Laser (JHPSSL), the Robust Electric Laser Initiative (RELI), and the Advanced Beam Control Locating and Engaging (ABLE) projects. JHPSSL resulted in the demonstration of a 100kW class solid state laser. RELI, with a target laser power of 25kW, looks to improve efficiency while reducing footprint to a level suitable on land-based vehicles. Meanwhile ABLE has been initiated to improve optical throughput, provide better aimport performance, and improve compensation for turbulence.

Grimes' talk not only kicked off a successful conference but also demonstrated the role that U.S. government agencies play in pushing forward technologies and encouraging the technical community to provide innovative solutions to challenging problems.

 

Fusing data from multiple sensors

The technique of fusing data from multiple sensors when applied for use in environmental remote sensing applications can greatly enhance the data collected and available for analysis and interpretation for a geographical region.

Dainis Jakovels of the Institute for Environmental Solutions in Latvia described such a scenario in his presentation "Airborne hyperspectral imaging in the visible-to-mid infrared spectral range by fusing three spectral sensors" (9245-24) delivered in SPIE Remote Sensing.

The researchers combined multiple hyperspectral sensors to cover a wavelength range from 380nm through 5000nm, employing them as part of an airborne surveillance system along with a LIDAR (1065nm) system and a high resolution RGB camera. Test flights over the city of Cesis produced data which, upon analysis, provided not only data on vegetation patterns but also of home heating trends and residential disposal of debris through contained outdoor fires.

An assessment of biotopes was conducted with flyovers of the Laguana Lake region in the Gulf of Riga. Here, in addition to nitrogen levels and vegetation trends, the researchers were able to conduct detailed analysis of the reed population in the area, a key indicator the health of this biotope. The work conducted by Jakovels and coworkers demonstrates the power of the sensor fusion approach.

 

TNO celebrates 50 years

TNO presenters at 50th anniversary celebration

A special event at this year's SPIE Remote Sensing was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Dutch TNO space organization. The session was chaired by the Remote Sensing symposium co-chair Bart Snijders.

After opening remarks by Henri Werij, Director of Innovation Space at TNO, the event featured talks provided by speakers from TNO (above) and their collaborators in the Dutch space community, SRON and Dutch Space.

Presentations covered joint programs such as TROPOMI, a spaceborne nadir viewing spectrometer conceived and designed by TNO and Dutch Space and targeted for deployment on the Sentinel-5 precursor satellite.

Other presentations discussed trends from institutional to commercial Earth observation, technology challenges faced by designers of space instruments, the difficulties and trade-offs in project management of space instrumentation and a glimpse of future opportunities.

The breadth of the talks highlighted the contributions made by TNO, demonstrated the importance of effective collaboration on these challenging projects, and made clear that TNO is well-positioned to continue its significant level of contribution to space programs in the future.

Bart Snijders, TNO Henri Werij, TNO
Bart Snijders Henri Werij

 

Posters and networking

A well-attended poster reception brought attendees together for lively discussions of featured work as well as more opportunities to greet old friends and meet new contacts.

SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence poster session

SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence poster session

SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence poster session

SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence poster session

 

Dinner cruise

Conference chairs were treated to a dinner cruise, as they discussed how the conferences are going and looked ahead to next year.

conference chair dinner cruise

conference chair dinner cruise

 


Tuesday 23 September

 

50 years of space instrumentation

Bart SnijdersThe plenary session of the SPIE Remote Sensing symposium began with Bart Snijders of the TNO, whose talk, "50 years of space instrumentation development in the Netherlands" highlighted contributions by Dutch scientists and engineers to European and U.S. space programs.

Today, the space network in the Netherlands consists of 75 organizations and 1000 employees led by 3 major organizations, SRON, Dutch Space and TNO. Dutch engagement began in 1964 with the design of a telescope and spectrometer for the TD14 satellite.

Science-based projects such as these have been the theme of Dutch involvement over the years, and work has included designs for a UV spectrometer in 1972 as well as a short-wave spectrometer for the International Space Observatory (ISO) in 1995 and a long-wave spectrometer for the Herschel Space Observatory HIFI instrument in 2004.

Recently, Dutch instrumentation was included on the Gaia mission. Launched in 2013, the Gaia mission will produce the most precise 3D mapping of our galaxy. The Netherlands contributed an angle monitoring system to track the angle between the onboard telescopes.

In addition to their efforts on instrumentation and monitoring, the Dutch have contributed to calibration methods.

The Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) launched in 1991 for example not only included a compact multichannel spectrometer for ozone detection but also onboard calibration capability. Calibration hardware and other instrumentation has been provided for additional programs such as GOME2 and the MERIS instrument which is a spectrometer onboard the Envisat platform.

Beyond contributing to remote sensing missions for ozone, the Netherlands has participated in the SCIAMACHY program for detection of trace gasses in the troposphere and stratosphere.

Looking forward, the Netherlands space program community is contributing to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) through their work on the MIRI unit which contains both an IR camera and spectrograph.

TROPOMI, to be deployed on the Sentinel-5 precursor satellite as part of the Copernicus program will detect and identify sources of pollutants on Earth.

With programs like these in motion and building upon a long history of contributions in instrumentation, the future appears promising for continued inclusion of the Dutch in space programs.

 

Avoiding lightning

Charles BostaterThe second talk in Tuesday's plenary session was delivered by Charles Bostater of the Florida Institute of Technology, filling in for Lisa Huddleston of the NASA Kennedy Space Center. The presentation, "Remote sensing at the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC): A perspective from the ground up," provided an overview of the ground-based remote sensing activities and capabilities at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

The U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron oversees weather operations for the KSC and the Eastern Range. As such, they employ a diverse set of sensing platforms not only to safeguard some 25,000 personnel but also to insure safe launch of space platforms.

Lightning launch commit criteria rules to avoid natural and rocket-triggered lightning strikes-must be followed to ensure flight and ground crew safety and to protect expensive instrumentation and equipment. Use of launch commit criteria includes using wind sensors to monitor low-level wind conditions to insure that payloads clear towers and high-level wind conditions to insure the launched vehicle maintains trajectory.

Lightning detection systems, weather radar, and Doppler radar wind profilers are all utilized to support launch vehicle design studies and insure safe launch.

Lightning detection systems are of particular importance given the high density of lightning strikes in the vicinity of the KSC and the Eastern Range. A cloud-to-ground surveillance system is in place as are detection and ranging systems. At the launch pad, 31 surface electrical field sensors measure the electric charge at the platform surface induced by charges in the atmosphere.

Weather radar monitors for severe weather conditions while Doppler radar wind profilers provide data needed to evaluate such parameters as the aerodynamic loading on a rocket and collect data up to 60000 feet. A series of 915MHz Doppler radar wind profilers collect data from ground level up to approximately 6000 feet and are used to understand debris fallout trajectories and similar launch and immediate post-launch phenomena.

At present, a phased array of antennas is being installed at the KSC with the goal of establishing a high-power, high-resolution Ka-band radar system for detection of near Earth objects and orbital debris. When complete, the system will be 100,000 times more precise than current optical methods and be able to monitor particles as small as 5cm. The system should allow for improved detection of hazardous asteroids like the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk in February 2015.

The presentation highlighted the value and utility of ground-based remote sensing systems and demonstrated the wide range of useful data these systems provide. They clearly have an important place and role in the remote sensing field safeguarding launch missions and the personnel working on them.

Bart Snijders, Philip Stahl, Charles Bostater, Ulrich Michel

Above, SPIE Remote Sensing chairs are congratulated by SPIE President Philip Stahl after the plenary session. From left are Bart Snijders (TNO), Stahl, Charles Bostater (Marine-Environmental Optics Lab and Remote Sensing Center, Florida Institue of Technology), and Ulrich Michel (University of Education Heidelberg).

 

Fiber lasers in disaster management

Agnes Dolfi-BouteyreAmong the technical talks in the conference rooms: The continued evolution and maturing of fiber lasers coupled with their small footprint enable increasing use of these systems in remote sensing applications where power scaling has significant implications for detection range, measurement accuracy, and measurement speed.

New applications utilizing fiber lasers were discussed by Agnes Dolfi-Bouteyre of ONERA in her presentation "New fiber laser for LIDAR developments in disaster management" (9250-16 ). In particular, developments in fiber lasers for use in structural damage assessment, multi-gas detection and long-range wind mapping were presented.

A LIDAR vibrometer utilizing a 1.5µm, 2W source capable of remote measurements at ranges up to 3km was developed and tested in Grenoble. Data obtained from the instrument enables safer structures to be designed.

A 1995nm, 20kW peak power continuum source operating at 20kHz was designed and built for supercontinuum spectroscopy detection of multi-gas environments for use in defense, security, and environmental monitoring applications. The supercontinuum source delivered a spectral range of 1.5µm to 4.25µm suitable for detection of a wide range of gas species.

For the third example, a master oscillator power fiber amplifier (MOPFA) design achieving 4W at 10kHz and 470W of peak power was built and tested for wind mapping. The three examples cited in this work demonstrate progress in distinct applications where the flexibility provided by fiber laser technology coupled with increases in average and peak power enable new uses of the technology.

 

Detecting IEDs

Augustus Way FountainImprovised explosive devices (IEDs) have become the weapon the choice for many terrorist organizations. The challenges with detecting homemade explosives was the topic of Augustus Way Fountain's presentation, "Trends and challenges for the detection of HME threats" (9253-44 ).

Fountain, affiliated with the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, said that part of the challenge in detecting such devices is that they employ very simple chemistries consisting of a fuel and an oxider. This simplicity results in a large number of possible combinations utilizing readily available materials. Fuels are simply anything that burns ranging from hydrocarbons to elementals, particularly metal powders. Oxiders can be found in common household materials; for example, ammonium nitrate is present in fertilizer.

Given this diversity, sensors are needed that merge modalities. Moreover, signal measurement must take into account all potential signatures from a target since interaction with the environment can result in chemical changes.

A variety of spectroscopic methods trade off selectivity and sensitivity, and standoff detection schemes face challenges such as signal attenuation due to atmospheric turbulence and the inverse square law nature of the technique.

To address these challenges, the U.S. Army is embracing battlefield forensics and techniques such as trace explosives fingerprint analysis and cyanoacrylate fingerprint enhancement. These practices are in the early stages of development but hold the promise of improved detection based on data presented by Fountain.

This presentation provided good insight into the complexity of explosives detection and the work being done to enhance capability in this field.

 

Connecting at the exhibition

The two-day exhibition opened Tuesday, offering the opportunity to connect suppliers and customers, and researchers and developers, fostering the transition of ideas into applications.

SPIE Security + Defence exhibition

SPIE Security + Defence exhibition

 


Monday 22 September

 

Remembrance: Piet Schwering

Piet Schwering
Piet Schwering

The late Piet Schwering, SPIE Fellow and longtime member of the organizing committee for the conference on Technologies for Optical Countermeasures, was remembered by colleagues during the opening of the Security + Defence plenary session Monday afternoon.

Schwering had been affiliated with TNO Defence, Safety and Security since 1987, and was a well-respected author, journal reviewer, course instructor, and conference attendee and organizer. He contributed to numerous sensors and electronics panels, and participated in trilateral agreements from 1990 through 1994.

His worked in infrared search and track systems, with the scope of his interests ranging across sensor hardware, detection processing, from targets to backgrounds and the propagation path in between.

 

Kingslake winners honored

Philip Stahl, Maarten Hogervorst

SPIE President Philip Stahl, left, presented the 2014 Rudolf Kingslake Medal and Prize to Maarten Hogervorst (above right) and Alexander Toet of TNO Defence, Security and Safety, Human Factors. The prize, awarded annually for the most noteworthy original paper published in Optical Engineering, was presented for the paper "Progress in color night vision" in the January 2012 issue.

 

Moore's law and lithography tools

Jos Benschop, ASML

The continued reduction in feature size has driven the evolution of lithography equipment supporting the semiconductor industry. The impact of Moore's law on tool suppliers was a central theme in the opening plenary talk by Jos Benschop (above), "Physics and optics in the semiconductor lithography industry." Benschop, of ASML, explained that the steady increase in the number of transistors results in a miniaturization delivering more functionality with the expectation of reduced cost. This trend should continue, driven by a need for additional processing power and memory to support development, for example, of the Internet of Things (IOT).

For lithography equipment, three metrics are critical: resolution, overlay and throughput.

Resolution is directly proportional to illumination wavelength which has steadily decreased from 436nm in 1975 to 13.5nm today. Resolution is also inversely proportional to the numerical aperture of the illumination system and this parameter has steadily increased from 0.28 to values over 1 accessible via immersion lens techniques. During this time, the optics have evolved from the use of refractive designs utilizing aspheres through catadioptric layouts to the refractive designs used with today's EUV scanners.

Through-the-lens alignment techniques have given way to more sophisticated off-axis multi-wavelength schemes enabling overlay (layer-to-layer alignment) of better than 2nm.

Throughput is required to exceed 250 wafers per hour which requires increasingly powerful EUV sources. Maintaining this pace of innovation and development to compete on what has become a worldwide stage has not only required a sizeable investment but also has stimulated a change in the ecosystem where suppliers stress partnerships with their customers and their own vendors.

Benschop detailed the close working relationship which has evolved between ASML and Carl Zeiss over the years as an example. With need for computing power only expected to increase in the future, it is clear that these partnerships will prove critical to the efforts to continue shrinking feature sizes and delivering more powerful chips.

 

Imaging and surveillance

Peter de With

The ability to detect subtle changes in the environment in real time has important safety implications whether it be for a motorist on the road or troops on patrol in hostile territory. In Monday's second plenary talk "Advances in imaging and 2D/3D video analysis for defence and security," Peter de With (above) of the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven described progress in change detection methods.

Because humans struggle to recognize detailed changes over long times and distances, automated change detection methods delivering consistent long-term performance and making use of the virtually unlimited "visual" memory provided by today's computers are needed.

A simple system to execute this task consists of a positioning system, a camera, an image processing capability, and a display unit. The positioning system is typically the vehicle that the camera is mounted on. Finding a suitable camera proved challenging, and de With's team found only one appropriate for the task. Processing capability is of critical importance involving steps including video capture, image pre-processing, feature extraction, feature retrieval from database, image matching, image alignment, change mask generation, and post-processing prior to output to a display unit with a GUI designed to highlight changes.

The team's initial work demonstrated the feasibility of the approach.

A second iteration sought to improve speed and reliability. Utilizing advanced scene modeling algorithms and adding cameras  to allow estimates of distance and improve object detection resulted in  enhanced system performance.

Focus now is on two additional areas designed to provide further enhancement of the technique. Building upon fast stixel processing methods for depth-based object detection by fusing color data into the core algorithm is producing more robust  results and improving the drivable distance metric, the distance one can drive prior to impacting an object.

Work on algorithms for a full 3D segmentation of objects is now underway and showing promise towards enabling object detection and tracking in 3D.

Throughout the presentation, de With shared videos of the methods applied in both rugged terrains typical of what a military patrol party might encounter and the Amsterdam public transportation system. These videos provided striking visual proof of the utility and flexibility of the methods. Improvements in camera technology and particularly increases in computing power should only serve to further improve these techniques.

Ric Schleijpen, Peter de With, David Titterton, Philip Stahl, Reinhard Ebert, Maarten Hogervorst

SPIE Security + Defence chairs pose with plenary speaker Peter de With (Technische Universiteit Eindhoven), SPIE President Philip Stahl, and Kingslake prize winner Maarten Hogervorst (TNO). From left above are Ric Schleijpen (TNO), de With, David Titterton (UK Defence Academy), Stahl, Reinhard Ebert (Fraunhofer IOSB), and Hogervorst.

 

Welcome to Amsterdam!

The evening's welcome reception provided excellent opportunities for catching up with colleagues, and making new acquaintances.

SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence reception

SPIE Remote Sensing and Security + Defence reception

 


SPIE Remote Sensing

SPIE Security + Defence

22-25 September 2014
Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre

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International Year of Light 2015
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