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PARISS® Analytical Hyperspectral Imaging Microscopy

Hyperspectral imaging correlates spectra presented by objects in an unlimited, heterogeneous field of view, with spectra in a reference spectral library.
PARISS®: Prism and Reflector Imaging Spectroscopy System
PARISS® Analytical Hyperspectral Imaging Microscopy

Perspective: Spectral imaging, multispectral imaging and hyperspectral imaging

Spectral imaging: a spectrometer acquires spatially resolved spectra with hundreds of contiguous wavelengths over a wavelength range providing hundreds of wavelength data points per spectrum.  Spectral imaging instruments almost always use a diffraction grating or a prism as the wavelength dispersive element.

Multispectral imaging evaluates a field of view (FOV) with non-contiguous wavelengths.  Instruments are often based on a liquid crystal tunable filter (LCTF) or an acousto-optic tunable filters (AOTF) in front of a scientific matrix-array camera.  Typically, low spectral resolution with up to 100 wavelength data points.

Hyperspectral imaging: is a hardware and software system in which spectra presented by objects in a FOV are correlated to spectra in a reference library. Modern hyperspectral imaging systems acquire hundreds to thousands of spectra simultaneously with each spectrum presenting many hundreds of wavelength data points.

Hyperspectral imaging microscopy

Hyperspectral imaging was originally developed for remote Earth sensing in the mid-1970s.  Since then advances in computer technology enabled innovative spectroscopic hardware designs that reduced weight and improved sensitivity.

In 1996 LightForm utilized these advances to pioneer hyperspectral imaging microscopy for biological and medical applications.  The goal required that the instrument be sensitive enough to handle low light levels and compact enough to easily mount as an accessory on almost any microscope, without external support.

The solution was found by discarding diffraction grating solutions in favor of a prism-based system originally developed by The Aerospace Corporation* for remote sensing.  After redesign the PARISS imaging spectrograph was ideal for use as a microscope accessory.

A unique prism increases hyperspectral imaging microscopy sensitivity

The final design resulted in a prism with curved sides that was named using an acronym “PARISS®” (Prism and Reflector Imaging Spectroscopy System”).

The curved sides add optical power to the system to deliver near aberration-free imaging with 90% efficiency from 365 to 920-nm. The net result is a significant improvement in signal to noise ratio (S/N) when compared to grating solutions. Enhanced sensitivity extended into the near IR where detectors and visible diffraction gratings are at their weakest.

The PARISS imaging spectrograph was then developed into the PARISS hyperspectral microscope

Custom hyperspectral software

Custom software shows the location and distribution of all, or selected, spectral-objects on a spectral topographical map.


Darkfield hyperspectral nanoparticle characterization

Darkfield hyperspectral nanoparticle characterization 

How hyperspectral microscopy works

How PARISS hyperspectral imaging microscopy works

PARISS hyperspectral modes of operation

PARISS hyperspectral imaging microscopy modes of operation

PARISS products


Stand Alone PARISS Prism Imaging Spectrograph (PPIS)


A stand alone, curved prism based imaging spectrometer for spatially resolved spectral analysis.

PARISS "PMIS" Imaging Spectrometer

Master Spectral LibraryPARISS imaging spectrometer with a scientific camera detector and spectroscopic software

PARISS "PHIS" Hyperspectral Microscope

PARISS hyperspectral microscope thumbnail

Includes the PSS, scientific CCD/CMOS camera, fully computer controlled translation stage, computer, and software.


Spectroscopy functions

  • %Reflection
  • %Transmission
  • Absorption
  • Darkfield scatter
  • Fluorescence
  • Luminescence

PARISS applications


Nanoparticle Characterization

 Nanoparticle spectra acquired in darkfield scatter in reflection or absorption. Samples can include biological and non-biological materials.

Bio/Medical/ Toxicology

Fluorescent cellHyperspectral imaging can reveal abnormalities and physiological changes in mammalian cells and plant tissue

Chemistry and Physics

Spectrum plot and as as seen on a camera

Chemical and physical reactions,
OLED research, and materials for solar efficiency optimization

Industrial Quality Control

  • Highly reflective materials
  • Industrial nanoparticle analysis and imaging
  • Color measurement of heterogeneous materials
  • Characterize powders, cosmetics
  • Micro spectroscopy in absorption/fluorescence

*US Patent 5127728A