Technology - Compact and Portable Hyperspectral Spectrometer and Imaging System

Compact and Portable Hyperspectral Spectrometer and Imaging System

A compact and portable hyperspectral spectrometer and imaging system with broad wavelength detection and high resolution.


Hyperspectral imaging technology has many applications in the imaging of geology, vegetation, the atmosphere, hydrology, and other environments.  Traditional spectrometers are composed of several discrete components, including optical focusing and collimating lenses, optical prisms for spectral dispersion, and detector arrays for optical signal detection and readout.  Such discrete-component spectrometer systems are generally confined to use in laboratories and are impractical for mobile applications because they are bulky, expensive, and delicate systems.  In addition, because conventional spectrometers operate based on the principles of ray optics, they are not suited for imaging objects or features having dimensions smaller than the scale of one wavelength.

Technology Overview:

University at Buffalo and University of Wisconsin researchers have developed hyperspectral resonant cavity imaging spectrometers.  The spectrometers include an array of photodetectors comprising photosensitive semiconductor nanomembranes disposed between two dielectric spacers.  By incorporating the array of photosensitive semiconductor nanomembrane-based photodetectors ("pixels") into a resonant optical cavity structure, light-matter interactions are enhanced by a nanocavity interference mechanism, which greatly enhances light absorption.  The optical cavity with height gradient makes it possible for each photodetector to have a unique photo-response, enabling the spectrometers to detect radiation over a broad range of wavelengths with a very high resolution.


  • The hyperspectral imaging spectrometers can collect and process information over a broad band of electromagnetism and provide spectra that enable the user to precisely analyze the chemical composition of a sample.
  • The design of the spectrometers allows them to be fast, compact, and lightweight, and therefore easily portable.  As a result, embodiments of the spectrometers can be integrated into small scale analytical instruments, such as cellular phone cameras, for use in the field.


The hyperspectral spectrometers and imaging systems have applications in a variety of fields, including mapping of wide areas, target detection, process monitoring and control, object identification and recognition, clinical diagnosis imaging, and environment assessment and management.

Intellectual Property Summary:

US Patent Application 17/189,394, filed March 2, 2021, is pending.

Stage of Development:

Lab-based demonstration.

Licensing Potential:

Available for licensing.

Patent Information: