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PARISS Modular Imaging spectrometer - spectrograph with zoom magnification

PARISS® Imaging Spectrograph And Spectrometer

The PARISS, modular, prism-based, imaging spectrograph/ spectrometer. Effective with low signal-to-noise, spatially resolved, spectra.  Use with a macro-lens, microscope, or a telescope

Tripod mounted PARISS imaging spectrometer - spectrograph

Tripod mounted PARISS imaging spectrometer for use  in outdoor applications

Mobile cart-mounted imaging spectrometer - spectrograph

PARISS mobile imaging spectrometer for use in a clinic, laboratory or factory floor

The PARISS Prism Modular Imaging Spectrometer and Spectrograph

Overview: A modular prism based imaging spectrometer and spectrograph captures low signal- to-noise, spatially resolved spectra, at all wavelengths from 365-nm – 920-nm simultaneously.

When used with a CCD or CMOS camera spectrum detector it becomes an imaging spectrometer. Enables point-to point spectral imaging (see Figure 1).

Design: The PARISS imaging spectrograph and spectrometer uses a prism with curved sides to deliver state of the art light throughput efficiency.  This enables highest sensitivity and very fast acquisition times, even with low signal to noise spectra. (See figure 2)

Zoom magnification is available from 1x to 40x, and more.

Applications include:

  • Biological and medical research
  • Solar energy research
  • Detection of toxic algae (cyanobacteria that can produce deadly cyanotoxins) (Figure 3)
  • Detection of microplastics in sediment (Figure 4)
  • Light-emitting devices
  • Photo-luminescent materials
  • Forensic materials
  • Industrial Q.C.

Macro-PARISS “kit:”  Most PARISS modules are available separately.  Our goal is to enable any researcher to mix-and-match and buy only what is needed.  When budgets are squeezed this is a great way to save money.

Upgrade any time as funds become available.

Mounting: PARISS imaging spectrograph can be column mounted on a bench, a tripod, or interface with a microscope video port.

Light collection optics can include a c-mount macro lens, with or without zoom capabilities, a microscope objective or telescope optics.

Spectral object characterization in %Reflection, absorption, or luminescence

Spectral cameras: can be user supplied or select from a range of options available through LightForm.

Software: Written in Python, various options are available including:

  • Basic spectral analysis %Refection, absorption, emission
  • Spectral classification
  • Create spectral libraries
  • Perform spectral recognition (Figure 5)

Go here to compare the spectral properties of prisms vs gratings

PARISS Imaging Spectrometer / Spectrograph Specifications

  • Weight: 1,250 g (Excluding a camera)
  • Moving parts: None. Optimizes stability and reproducibility. 
  • Dimensions: 210 x 55 x 85 mm
  • Wavelength dispersive element:  The wavelength dispersive element is a prism with optical “power.” Concave and convex surfaces on the front and rear surfaces correct astigmatism, coma, and spherical aberration. (See Figure 2)
  • Spectral range: 365 to ~920 nm or 400 to ~920 nm, depending on choice of camera.  All spectra acquired simultaneously without order sorting filters
  • Light throughput efficiency: Internal transmission ~90% from 450 to ~920 nm.
  • Entrance slit dimensions: Standard 5 mm. by 25 micron, widths of 50 and 100 micron are available in pre-aligned mounting assemblies.
  • Spatial resolution at the sample: Depends on slit width and camera pixel size ~ 0.6 micron by ~0.6 micron with 40x magnification typical.  Nanoparticles may be detected but not resolved
  • Spectral resolution: ~1 nm measured at the full width at half maximum of the 436 nm Hg line, depends on slit width and camera pixel size.
  • Optional calibration standards: Available MIDL wavelength calibration lamp and a “SYLPH”  NIST certified radiometric light source.

Modular Imaging Spectrometer Fundamentals

What is an imaging spectrometer?

An imaging spectrometer consists of an imaging spectrograph plus a CMOS or CCD camera to acquire and quantify spectra. The goal is to identify and map the location of objects or conditions in a heterogeneous field-of-view. Knowing the spectral characteristics of target objects or conditions enables the use of classic spectroscopic methods for identification The key difference between a classic spectrometer and an imaging spectrometer is the ability to deliver spatial, point-to-point imaging

What spectral resolution can I expect from an Imaging spectrometer

Changing bandpass or spectral resolution is not usually a user-adjustable function. It is the entrance slit of the spectrometer that controls the bandpass and spectral resolution of the instrument. For example, the PARISS prism-based imaging spectrometer delivers 1-nm bandpass with a standard slit-width of 25-micron. Supplying the system with a 50-micron slit-width reduces the spectral resolution to 2-nm, but doubles light throughput. It is always best to discuss the needs of an application before purchasing a system.

What do you mean by a “modular” imaging spectrometer?

The PARISS modular imaging spectrometer consists of the PARISS imaging spectrograph plus a wide selection of optics that image the field of view onto the spectrometer. For example, detecting microplastics or skin lesions may be best served with a zoom magnification. A second observed image camera can be mounted to enable precise targeting and full-color documentation. Each module can be purchased separately, and the system can be modified or updated to meet diverse application demands at any time. Starting with a basic system and updating it as funds become available, or applications change, adds flexibility and considerable cost savings to the user.

What is better, a prism or a diffraction grating-based imaging spectrometer?

The effectiveness of an imaging spectrometer is all about sensitivity, and light throughput (signal) is the key. A typical diffraction grating offers about 60% efficiency at only one wavelength. In comparison, a prism offers over 90% efficiency over a very wide wavelength range. Consequently, a prism delivers higher signal-to-noise ratios and shorter acquisition times than a diffraction grating. The PARISS® imaging spectrometer is prism-based and delivers many hundreds of spatially resolved spectra simultaneously, often in milliseconds. What are the spectroscopic modes of operation of the PARISS imaging spectrometer? The PARISS imaging spectrometer performs basic spectroscopy that includes %reflection, absorption, fluorescence, luminescence, and dark-field scatter. .

What software does an imaging spectrometer need?

Unlike a classical spectrometer that acquires one spectrum at a time, imaging spectrometers acquire many hundreds of spectra, each with hundreds of wavelength data points simultaneously. The enormous number of acquired spectra presents a significant challenge to most commercial off-the-shelf spectroscopy software packages. To solve this problem, LightForm provides custom PARISS software, written in PYTHON, to process the many hundreds of spectra acquired simultaneously. The software also controls the operating parameters of the spectral camera and ancillary observed image cameras. Features include spectral acquisition, classification, and the creation of spectral libraries that correlate with target objects. Spectral libraries identify target objects as a function of their spectral characteristics.

Imaging spectrometer types: prism, diffraction grating and electronic filter

Imaging spectrometers are available in three formats: electronic filters that include acousto-optic tunable filters (AOTF), liquid crystal filters (LCD), and interferometers. Filter type imaging spectrometers acquire a fixed field-of-view through a series of bandpass filters sequentially. Prism and diffraction grating imaging spectrometers (wavelength dispersive) acquire an unlimited field-of-view sequentially and all wavelengths simultaneously. Wavelength dispersive instruments tend to be analytical and filter systems relative.

Click here for a performance comparison between
a prism and a diffraction grating

An imaging spectrograph images a point on the entrance slit as a point on the detector

Figure 1: An imaging spectrograph images a point on the entrance slit as a point on the spectrum detector as a function of wavelength

Figure 2: The PARISS prism spectrograph with curved sides to enable spatial imaging


 Pond with algal bloom. Spectrum insert captured with the PARISS imaging spectrometer confirms the presence of toxic cyanobacteria.

Figure 3: Pond with algal bloom.  Spectrum insert captured with the PARISS imaging spectrometer confirms the presence of toxic cyanobacteria.

Spectral image of microplastics

Figure 4: Spectral image of microplastics taken in darkfield reflection

Imaging spectroscopy software offers various formats including 3D

Figure 5:  Python, imaging spectroscopy software showing 3D presentation of spectral characteristics

How PARISS Analytical Hyperspectral Imaging Works

How PARISS Hyperspectral Wavelength Dispersive Imaging Works

Darkfield hyperspectral nanoparticle characterization 

How PARISS hyperspectral imaging microscopy works

PARISS hyperspectral imaging microscopy modes of operation

All PARISS Hyperspectral systems are custom configured to meet the needs of an application.
The above configuration is for
guidance only. Specifications can and do change without notice.

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