USGS - science for a changing world

Eastern Geographic Science Center

Description of Current Projects

Hyperspectral Imaging Microscopy

Principal Investigator: E. Terrence Slonecker, U.S. Geological Survey, Eastern Geographic Science Center

The Science Issue and Relevance
Hyperspectral Imaging (HSI) is a mature technology that separates light and other forms of electromagnetic energy into numerous narrow image bands usually measuring only few nanometers each in width. HSI is a widely accepted form of remote sensing science for landscape-scale mineralogy, geology and biology. Here we adopt the same technology turning it inward to the cellular scale to determine spectral phenomenon in the petri dish.

Methodology for Addressing the Issue
The National Institute for Standards and Technology, in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Mitre Corporation has developed a laboratory dedicated to measuring the optical properties of materials through the use of commercial and custom hyperspectral imagers. A custom built hyperspectral imaging microscope covers the 400 nm to 2500 nm spectral range using narrow contiguous spectral bands. This system provides a means to collect greater than tens of thousands of spectra from both pure substances and mixtures. The large abundance of imaging data allows for a more detailed understanding of the distribution and variability of spectra. This additional information may aid in understanding the variability observed in ground truth spectra collected from portable spectrometers. Additionally, the data cubes collected can serve as proxies for airborne and spaceborne collected datasets for test and evaluation purposes. We will continue to refine the technical performance of the microscope and start to build a library database of microscopic image spectral data of minerals and biological phenomena, such as harmful algal blooms.

Future Steps
Field work and additional data collection, especially in situ spectral data of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV), will help refine the spectral "signatures" of SAV and will assist National Park Service managers in the protection of sensitive aquatic resources.

Key Words: Hyperspectral imaging, hyperspectral imaging microscope, library database

Contact Information:
Terry Slonecker, PhD

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